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THE 

LIFE OF DAN BICE 



BY 

MARIA WARD BROWN 



LONG BRANCH, N. J. 
PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR 



COPYRIGHT, 1901, BY 
MARIA WARD BROWN 




PREFACE. 



HERE is no more fascinating exercise for the mind or imag- 
__ ination than to contemplate the career of a gifted man or 
woman; and the man who illustrates and adorns the profession, to 
which choice or chance has assigned, should ever be regarded as 
a fit item for history whatever that lot might have been. But 
more especially is this the experience with the man, who, from 
any circumstances or powers of mind, bursts the fetters of a lowly 
fortune or position, and, rising superior to common fate, makes 
for himself a path to higher destiny and forms a niche in its tem 
ple which, in af tertime, an impartial world will deem him worthy 
to occupy. 

" Honor and fame from no condition rise 
Act well your part therein the honor lies." 

The history of Dan Rice is replete with startling incident, in 
structive fact, and dramatic situations; whilst the trend of 
thought and action which that history develops, exhibits a 
mind, heart, and purpose, combined with the rarest elements. 
He has lived a varied, adventurous life, has travelled extensively, 
and mingled with all sorts and conditions of men, the noble- 
minded and the base. He has been a keen observer, a profound 
student of mankind, and in his own person has been subjected 
to almost every sort of trial, domestic or otherwise, bitter ex 
periences which have served to expand and strengthen these 
characteristics which have proved to be the mainspring of his 
triumphs in after life. 

Imbued with a well-nigh insatiable love of nature, of a no 
madic tendency, with just a trifling tinge of the Bohemian in his 
temperament little wonder that at an early age he left the roof 
of his childhood and became a cosmopolite, before he had im 
bibed scarcely more than the primary rudiments of the school 
room or formed any stable habits of the right, for at that early 
period when association was most likely to give bias to his 
character he was cast upon the cold and unsympathetic ocean of 
life no beacon light to direct his pathway the child of circum 
stance the nursling of fate. 

Too much credit cannot be awarded to one who commenced 
his career under such untoward conditions and conflicting cir- 



103 



IV PKEFACE 

cumstances, and yet achieve so proud a foothold among his 
fellows. 

It is an incentive to the ambitious a spur to the self-reliant 
but lowly circumstanced in life, exemplifying as it does, with 
such a wealth of eloquent and effective incident and adventure, 
disheartening trials and temptations, incidental to and insep 
arable from the isolated and self-sought career which the brave- 
hearted but friendless lad mapped out for himself, how in after 
years the sturdy stripling, having developed his native gifts and 
utilized the knowledge acquired in the school of experience, for 
ever removed, through the influence of a rugged honesty of pur 
pose and unswerving principle in execution, the traditional odium 
from a peculiar class, and thus conferred a benefit upon all who 
may become identified with a profession of which he was so prom 
inent and it may be added, the most illustrious member. 

He was yet to know the inebriating sweetness of a popular 
applause, to witness the bitter revolutions consequent upon that 
profession s subsequent lapse from popular favor to well-merited 
censure. An active, athletic lad of quick perception and ready 
tact, practically friendless and homeless, young Dan Rice, how 
ever, was not long in attracting the attention of all with whom he 
came in contact. The very novelty of such a juvenile, precocious 
cosmopolite induced the inquiry, " Who is he?" and his per 
tinacity in repelling all such inquiries gathered around him an 
ever-increasing curiosity and interest. His taste for and love 
of horses, which has since been so strongly evinced, led him to 
the racecourse and to every place where horses or horsemen were 
collected. 

A certain magnetism of manner, inviting amiability and hon 
est ingenuousness, which in a more mature manhood culminated 
in an almost resistless fascination, attracted toward him an illus 
trious circle of lifelong friendships, many of whom have acquired 
national distinction, and it is significant of the resistless charms 
with which he swayed individuals, and vast audiences, that those 
friends of his early youth have been faithful and constant to the 
end. No public man can boast of a larger or more conspicuous 
circle, including as the list does, statesmen, scholars, scientists, 
men of world-wide fame in the armies and navies of every nation, 
as well as countless thousands who have acquired fame in the 
more humanizing walks of life. 

When he finally drifted into the profession wherein he ac 
quired such fame, and wherein at the outset he distinguished 
himself from his fellows by his superior activity, and athletic 
and gymnastic powers, it was not long until it was discovered 
that his native wit, acute sense of the ridiculous and humorous 
conception could be most profitably utilized in motley garb. His 



PREFACE V 

wit was Attic and spontaneous, conceived with electric instinct, 
and thus was given to the world a humorist whose supremacy 
was at once recognized, and whose fame was equal with the most 
distinguished members of the more assuming histrionic profes 
sions. 

It was thus that upon the very threshold of his career he 
attained celebrity for not only rare genius, but for a refinement 
and polish of address, high-toned sentiment, and sterling worth; 
the latter quality being established by his benevolent and chari 
table actions. Hence he obtained easy access to any and every 
avenue of social life in which he desired to move, and became the 
courted guest of every charmed circle in which intellectuality 
held sway. 

In the course of his eventful career opportunities had been 
presented in a more exalted sphere, and he has been importuned 
to enter the arena of politics, and upon more than one occasion 
overtures have been made to allow himself to be nominated for 
Congress and State Senate, and at one period for President, in 
1808, in Xew York, where his oratorical ability and brilliant 
originality would have been of incalculable service to the party 
he espoused. But, however distasteful the profession with which 
he was connected, he shrank from the harassing turmoil, agita 
tions, and antagonisms of political strife, and preferred to reign 
supreme in the more remunerative, if less exalted, walk of life, 
which in later years he invested with a distinction unknown prior 
to his advent. 

A waif thrown on the world at an almost childish age, yet 
struggling with the inherent ambition of his nature to build up 
a name and position, surrounded by influences which would dis 
may the less resolute, and combating circumstances which were 
most unfavorable to the development of his genius, yet with the 
indomitable spirit of a hero, in whose vocabulary there was no 
such word as fail, he succeeded in establishing a name and repu 
tation which will live after these memoirs have left his memory 
behind. And yet his name will live forever fragrant with 
memories of his many charitable and beneficent bequests, which 
are not the less appreciated because unblazoned and without 
ostentation. 

His rise was rapid, meteoric; from his school-boy days when 
he succeeded in upsetting the gravity of the learned faculty of 
Princeton with ludicrous translations and burlesque construc 
tions of the ancient classics, making game of august professors 
in grave discussions upon disputed points in ethics, and finally 
on his way home, with a " flea in his ear " and his expulsion in 
his pocket, on up to when, still a mere lad, he is soon after found 
in the West, eliciting the most sapient of sayings from the most 



VI PREFACE 

erudite of pigs, dancing himself into the good graces of the Dig 
gers about Galena, 111., as a veritable Ethiopian his life was ka 
leidoscopic. Now we find him running the gauntlet of the 
authorities of Davenport and Rock Island for licenses unpaid, 
disseminating Mormon doctrines, with an especial commissioji 
from Joe Smith at $50 per month, to see a miracle, to which Ma 
homet s coffin was not a circumstance. 

Next we find him exposing the great mesmerizer De Bonne- 
ville, for being too strong a competitor of his learned pig, and 
the next day, having lured away his subject, lecturing upon 
Phreno-mesmerism, with an eclat to which the great Magnetizer 
could not aspire. Political controversies, temperance lectures, 
herculean labor, comic negro songs, and still more comical 
speeches with itinerant shows leading characters in the Peri 
patetic Thespian Corps everything served to keep the ball in 
motion, until about three years after, when Dan succeeded 
in discovering the true bent of his genius and set himself to 
work to achieve a reputation. 

Indefatigable study, incessant researches, and a more than 
usual share of nature s gifts, caused the mountebank who made 
his debut as a clown of a circus on the Western prairies, three 
years since, to wake up in New York four months afterward 
with a fame well-nigh world-wide. From this time his strides 
to the goal of his ambition were rapid. Taken by the hand in 
New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore by many who detected 
the latent spark of genius, there was soon presented the singular 
spectacle of a fool in motley dress calling out audiences who had 
never before deigned to cater to anything less artistic than an 
Italian opera troupe or a five-act tragedy. His rise was meteor- 
like, bringing to bear as he did, all the accessories with which his 
varied life had made him familiar. 

Truly his career furnishes an extraordinary example of what 
can be accomplished by tact, combined with indomitable per 
severance and energy. In the course of his life he made and 
spent several fortunes, rendered his name "as familiar as a 
household word " in every part of the United States, and created 
a prestige for the establishment which he originated, and which 
was exceeded in popularity only by the striking originality of 
Colonel Rice himself. As the proprietor of the " One-Horse 
Show/ struggling against the opposition of capital, harassed and 
annoyed bv persecutions, he enlisted the sympathy of the public 
to a wonderful degree, and from that equestrian establishment 
in which the equine department was represented by and consoli 
dated in one solitary horse, had grown the monster exhibition 
which made him world famous. As a trainer of animals, he stood 
without a rival. He was the only man who ever succeeded in 



PREFACE Vll 

subduing the rhinoceros. Those who have witnessed the ex 
traordinary feats of the horses, Excelsior and Excelsior, Jr., the 
former of which was the identical horse which constituted the 
" One-Horse Show/ cannot have failed to appreciate his skill as 
a horseman. Still, his great reputation has been gained as a 
humorist, a cognomen which he introduced in contradistinction 
to that of the ordinary circus clown, and in which capacity he was 
acknowledged to stand without an equal. His originality, his 
ready wit, and his entire good sense, combined to render his 
delineation of that role acceptable to every class of the com 
munity. 

He had ever a way of doing everything and saying everything 
that may be considered idiosyncratic and might be called " Dan 
Rice-ish." Ordinary subjects received new interest from the 
garb with which he clothed them. No person probably had ever 
become a more universal favorite. 

His great personal popularity, and the moral force he carried 
with him, as the embodiment of everything respectable in the 
circle, were the secret of his signal triumphs throughout two 
continents. 

In this biographical age, when almost every ambitious char 
acter imagines that the public has an interest in his antecedents, 
Lord Byron s celebrated quotation is brought to mind: 

" Tis pleasant to see one s name in print, 
A book s a book, tho there s nothing in t." 

It was not so in bygone days when only the memoirs of men 
or women were published whose fame and remarkable lives were 
a certain guarantee to both the public and the publisher. To 
the former, that the perusal would well repay the cost and time, 
and to the latter that the books would not be left upon his hands 
and eventually sold as waste paper. In presenting in this vol 
ume, the life of Dan Rice, the biographer feels that she is about 
to place before the public a volume of an entirely different de 
scription to the dull and uninteresting works alluded to. It will 
contain a series of adventures and incidents alternating from 
grave to gay; descriptive scenes and thrilling events; the record of 
half a century of a remarkable life, in the course of which the sub 
ject was brought into contact with many of the national celebri 
ties of the day. It will abound in anecdotes, humorous and other 
wise; and it will afford a clearer view of the inside mysteries of 
show life than any account heretofore published. 

As a journalist also, he has figured successfully; his paper, 
" The Cosmopolite," of Girard, Pa., having had, and still con 
tinues to maintain, a wide circulation throughout the Lake 
States. 



Vlll PREFACE 

In short, the " Memoirs " will be found replete with such a 
strange and varied round of adventures, as to supply additional 
evidence that " truth is stranger than fiction." A biographical 
sketch of Dan Eice s parentage is introduced,, which will contain 
interesting and hitherto unpublished incidents in the lives of 
Aaron Burr, Madame Jumel, and other historical personages of 
a bygone age. 

In closing this synoptic analysis of Mr. Eice s professional 
career that is so full of phenomenal development, especial pride 
is taken in giving to the world the best that can be produced 
from the gifted pen of the critic and the established customs 
that sway the masses. In weighing the words of cultured men 
we are brought within the limit of their understanding, and the 
exacting tide of popular approval, or otherwise, is the inevitable 
result; therefore, the character delineated by an accurate esti 
mate of true worth and actual merit shines forth with bright 
effulgence through deeds that have crowned themselves with 
more than ordinary lustre and acknowledgment. Without a 
peer in his particular sphere in the amusement world, he still 
stands as a monarch whose fame is untarnished by the buffetings 
of clannish presumers, and whose strength has been tried by time 
and its progress. His fortress has been the hearts of the people 
and an impenetrable stronghold he found in their unbiased 
opinions, which place he still occupies and fondly cherishes with 
a name unscarred by design and its adjuncts. The indescribable 
traits inherent in his character in earlier life can be traced 
through all the later efforts of his maturer years; and in those 
characteristics probably lie the secret of the brilliant successes 
that have pronounced him the Prince of Jesters and the pride of 
the social circle in which he moved. With a strength of resolve 
to bravely meet every apparent duty pointed out by the finger of 
fate, he promptly responded with his versatile talent and em 
phasized it by unselfish contributions in a monetary way, as has 
been demonstrated by innumerable expressions of public grati 
tude that repaid him a thousand-fold. Without a thought of 
holding malice, this impenetrable character has calmed the rage 
of his enemies and offered the hand of good-fellowship to his 
fallen foes when bitter antagonism waged its war of words in the 
press and circus ring; but, through all, his star was in the ascend 
ancy, and vindictive accusations were buried in charity by this 
old-time knight of the circle. Bright oases these to encounter 
in the arduous toils of a busy, public life of over a half a century, 
contending with every phase of strife, professional, political, and 
social. The world is critical in its judgment of prominent men 
whose lives are open to inspection, and these pages invite its in 
tellectual perusal; but it is also humane in pronouncing its sen- 



PREFACE IX 

tences, which cannot but give to its retinue of subjects the un 
tarnished name of the Jester Clown, Dan Rice. 

Dan Rice, the world-renowned jester, is no longer before the 
public as the life and soul of the arena, the presiding spirit whose 
original jests, gibes, and witticisms were wont to keep the con 
gregated thousands in a roar, but, fortunately, through his cour 
tesy, the author of this work has had the privilege of inspecting 
a pile of manuscripts and papers sufficient to enable her to pre 
sent to the public a volume of the great jester s most pungent 
jokes, comic harangues, caustic hits upon men and manners, 
lectures, anecdotes, sketches of adventure, original songs and 
poetical effusions; wise and witty, serious, satirical, and senti 
mental sayings of the sawdust arena of other days. The author 
has been induced to issue this work at the earnest request of a 
host of Col. Dan Rice s friends and old admirers; at the same 
time the young of the present generation will be enabled to com 
pare the genius of the motley representatives of the past with the 
weak and degenerate wearers of the cap and bells of to-day. Its 
perusal, while it will assuredly excite the risibilities of the most 
unimpressionable, will be found not lacking in instructive mat 
ter. Xo public character has experienced a more checkered life, 
and it may be truly said that no one, either belonging to the 
legitimate drama, or the tented circle, has acquired the widely- 
spread fame or popularity of Colonel Rice. With these few 
prefatorial remarks, this literary venture is launched, leaving a 
discriminating public to pass upon its merits. 



Reminiscences of Dan Rice 



CHAPTER I. 

DAN RICE S PARENTAGE AN EPISODE OF LOVE, AND AN 
ELOPEMENT THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE NEVER RUNS 
SMOOTH BIRTH OF THE HERO AND SEPARATION OF HIS 
PARENTS A LEAF IN THE HISTORY OF AARON BURR AND 
MADAME JUMEL THE MATCH-MAKER MARRIAGE AND 
DIVORCE AN ENGAGEMENT BROKEN THROUGH A BAD SET 
OF TEETH A GRATEFUL AND MUNIFICENT BEQUEST. 



are few men living whose lives have been so ad- 
__ venturous or characterized by what may be termed " ups 
and downs " of life as the hero of these memoirs. While the 
placid course of an uneventful life may be, and is, the lot of 
many, there are others whose careers are traced by a series of 
events, many of which would serve as a sensational chapter of a 
novel, while some may be criticised as imaginative and unreal. 

At the solicitation of many of the personal friends of Dan 
Rice, the biographer has been induced to compile for publication 
the reminiscences of a period of his existence, dating from early 
boyhood, through the teeming years which have since intervened. 

To give the reader a correct insight into the influences which 
in a measure controlled his after life, a brief re-view of his par 
entage and the events preceding his birth is necessary, and it 
will then be understood that the name of Dan Rice is merely a 
patronymic that has withstood the tests of intelligent criticism. 
His father, Daniel McLaren, was born in the city of New York, 
and resided in Mulberry Street, which was at that time one of 
the best business and residential sections of the city. His mother 
was Elizabeth Crum, the daughter of Richard Crum, a Methodist 
preacher, who was born in Haverstraw, N. Y., in the year 1763. 
Mr Crum afterward, in early manhood, settled in Ocean Town 
ship, in Monmouth County, N. J., and, being married, he became 
the father of a numerous progeny, fourteen of whom survived 
and reached maturity. Our hero s mother was the tenth child, 



2 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

being born March 4, 1803, and as she was evidently the favorite 
of her father, more than usual pains were taken with her educa 
tion, and, contrary to the usages of prevailing customs at that 
period, she was indulged, perhaps too much so, to participate in 
the enjoyment of many social privileges that belonged to older 
maidens. 

It was thus at the age of eighteen, she was allowed to attend 
several "merry-makings" and dances held at Long Branch, a 
short distance from the paternal home, and it was on one of these 
occasions that she met young Daniel McLaren. 

It was the old, old story of love at first sight, and the friend 
ship thus formed became essential to the happiness of both, for 
it early terminated in an elopement to New York. Young Mc 
Laren, being prompted by entirely pure motives, would not allow 
a shadow of a reflection to rest upon the fair name of the maiden 
of his choice, so on the return journey the couple stopped at 
Heghtstown in New Jersey, where they were married by a Jus 
tice of the Peace. This happened in the year 1821, and the 
young bride was taken to her husband s home on Mulberry Street, 
where, on the 25th of January, in the year 1823, she gave 
birth to the subject of these memoirs. Daniel McLaren, being 
the only son, was a partner with his father in the grocery business, 
but, meanwhile, following the inclinations of his talent, he was 
studying law under the famous Aaron Burr, of whom he became 
an ardent admirer. During all this time there had been a 
vigilant search by Mr. Crum, to locate the runaway bride, which 
finally proved successful, when the indignant father immediately 
instituted proceedings against McLaren, and by means of a writ 
issued by the court, she was forcibly taken from her husband 
and returned to her old home at the farm. The marriage was 
declared null and void, and a suit was instituted against our 
hero s father for seduction. Damages to the amount of $1,000 
were awarded, which sum, being paid, was transferred to the 
child s mother to be held in trust for the boy. Little Dan was 
subsequently in his mother s custody taken to the home of her 
father, and, although the grandfather loved the child for his 
daughter s sake, his misguided judgment never forgave Daniel 
McLaren, and he would not allow his grandson to use his father s 
surname, bestowing upon him the surname Bice which belonged 
to the maternal side. Thus all intercourse between his parents 
ceased. It was an impulsive love match, a rose-tinted dream that 
filled two young lives unfolding to the experiences of this world s 
cares, and a rude awakening by arbitrary and unnatural condi 
tions, that created a sorrowful conclusion. 

The parting was final. The mother, now that her marriage 
had been pronounced invalid, impelled only by a filial discern- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 3 

merit of duty, made reconciliation with the high-strung McLaren 
impossible, and so the young husband lived only in her memory. 

It has been previously stated that little Dan s father was 
equally interested with Daniel McLaren, Sr., in the grocery 
business. It was at that time one of the largest establishments 
embraced in that line in New York, and its patronage was com 
posed of many of the select families, who preferred to have their 
articles guaranteed, a fact that savors of probable adulteration 
even at that early day. Among those who availed themselves of 
securing the best standard articles at the McLaren establishment 
was the historic Aaron Burr. It was here he purchased his claret, 
imported liquors, tea, etc., the firm being widely celebrated for 
their excellent quality of the latter article, the senior partner 
having been, in conjunction with John Jacob Astor, one of the 
earliest importers of tea in the United States. 

Another patron of the establishment was the famous Madame 
Jumel, whose name is so inseparably connected with the later life 
of Aaron Burr. This was in 1822. Madame Jumel was a woman 
of more than ordinary attractions, and her husband, although 
considerabty older, was one of the finest specimens of well-pre 
served manhood in New York. His death occurred as the result 
of an accident by the collision of his vehicle with a carman s dray 
at one of the wharves. The carman s horse becoming frightened 
and unmanageable, fell from the wharf into the river and was 
drowned, and Mr. Jumel was thrown from the light cart he was 
driving. The accident was witnessed by a crowd of people, who 
loudly expressed their sympathy with the drayman, and Jumel, 
who did not at the time realize the extent of the internal injury 
he had received, drew from his purse a bill, and, presenting it to 
the carman, said to the crowd, " I pity him ten dollars. How 
much do you pity him?" The carman by this means realized 
an amount that more than covered the value of the horse he had 
lost, but Mr. Jumel was destined to succumb to the unfortunate 
accident. 

He was seventy years of age when he died, while his widow was 
but little past the prime of life, and in the full flush of her 
womanly charms. Young McLaren had become well acquainted 
with Madame Jumel by frequently calling to make collections for 
her purchases at the establishment, and at this juncture she 
consulted him upon engaging a competent and reliable person to 
look after her estate and personal matters. 

As previously stated, although equally interested in business 
with his father, young McLaren was a law student under the 
instruction of Aaron Burr, and although he never became an 
active practitioner, he was considered an excellent authority where 
difficult legal questions were involved. With an inclination to 



4 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

advance the interests of his preceptor, he named Aaron Burr as 
eminently the best selection she could make. Madame Jumel, hav 
ing heard many unfavorable reports of Mr. Burr s previous ca 
reer, made objections to McLaren s recommendations, but he 
pleaded so effectually in Burr s behalf that she finally agreed 
to consult him,, and the interview resulted in Madame Jumel in 
stalling him as her agent and attorney. 

At the time of Madame Jumel s first consultation with Mr. 
Burr at his office in Eeed Street, he was seventy years of age, but 
of most fascinating presence, being straight, active, and agile, 
with a perfect Chesterfieldian deportment. 

Little Dan s father, who is credited with a penchant for match 
making, and who really was as much of an adept in the art as 
any diplomatic duenna exploiting the charms of some fair 
debutante, was not slow to perceive the favorable impression 
made by the elderly Adonis upon the susceptible widow, and 
forthwith conceived the idea of consummating a match which he 
succeeded in carrying to a successful conclusion. Aaron Burr 
had no more steadfast friend than Daniel McLaren, whose sin 
gularly devoted zeal continued to the last, but it may be said that 
few lived who could exercise a more masterly influence over those 
of either sex than Aaron Burr. 

All this happened in 1830, the year when the cholera first 
visited America, and Madame Jumel, after delegating her busi 
ness affairs to Aaron Burr, decided to take a carriage tour in the 
interior of the State. During the trip she visited Saratoga 
which about that time became celebrated for its waters. Since 
his clandestine marriage and the loss of his young bride, Daniel 
McLaren, Jr., by successful enterprise and strict attention to 
business had become what in those days was considered wealthy. 
In the year 1853, he was elected President of the New Jersey, 
Lombard & Protection Bank, and subsequently he purchased 
a large property at the Saratoga Springs which he assisted in 
making famous by a work which he published concerning its 
medicinal waters and which went through several editions. 

Madame Jumel s visit to Saratoga resulted in her purchase of a 
completely furnished house from young McLaren, but she did 
not make it a permanent residence, and only visited it occasion 
ally. Meanwhile her intimacy with Aaron Burr became more 
and more pronounced, and the result was a marriage, kept secret 
for a while, but finally being publicly acknowledged. 

The subsequent separation of Mr. Burr and Madame Jumel was 
caused by a land speculation in Texas and an effort on the part 
of Aaron Burr to found a German colony on the property. He 
and Daniel McLaren had, in 1830, bought considerable property 
in that part of the country, then a dependency of Mexico. Some 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE O 

time after this marriage, Burr fitted out an expedition, consisting 
of Germans of both sexes, for the purpose of settling the land, 
but it was not successful, and the money which he had used, 
consisting of collections from the Jumel estate, was a total loss. 
Madame Jumel-Burr became very indignant, and insisted upon 
taking the management of the estate out of his hands. This he 
resisted, and a controversy ensued, which created a breach that 
even the friendly interposition of the " mutual friend " failed to 
heal, and a separation was the result. Notwithstanding this state 
of affairs existing between them, when Madame Jumel learned 
that Mr. Burr was lying ill, she buried her prejudices, went to his 
relief, and had him taken to her own home where she could 
minister to his wants by proper attendance. As a result, their 
marital differences were healed, but not for long. A violent 
rupture followed later, making a final separation inevitable. The 
fateful tract of land that created the lifelong difference between 
Burr and Madame Jumel, was subsequently purchased by Mr. 
McLaren. 

The tragic termination of the Burr marriage did not alienate 
the friendship existing between Madame Jumel and McLaren, 
and she continued to consult him on legal matters. Business 
again engendered the tender passion, and Madame Jumel-Burr 
was ready to assume a new role under the name of McLaren, and 
so become a stepmother to no less a personage than Dan Eice 
himself. She was little more than " forty " and exceedingly fair, 
and Mr. McLaren admired her beauty and her wit alike. The 
obstacle that prevented Dan Eice from having Madame Jumel 
for a stepmother is as odd a one as any in his varied career. 

Mr. McLaren was a fine specimen of physical manhood, except 
in one respect. His teeth were very defective, and Madame Jumel, 
as she has always been called in spite of her marriage to Burr, 
could not endure an ugly mouth. She agreed to become Mrs. 
McLaren on condition that Daniel should have his teeth ex 
tracted and replaced by a complete new set. This seems arduous 
enough even now, but in those days the dentist was generally a 
barber by trade and a dentist for amusement. The ordeal which 
Daniel McLaren was thus called to face, before the time of an 
aesthetics, was frightful and he protested that marriage on such 
conditions cost too much. 

But she insisted that she would not have a man with such a 
" mouthful of snaggle teeth," and as both were obstinate, the 
projected marriage came to naught. People who had watched 
the progress of the courtship, said that, however smart McLaren 
had proved himself in matchmaking for others, he had most 
signally failed in making one for himself. Mr. Eice says that 
his father should have married the Madam in spite of his teeth. 



6 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Among his many acts of free-handed generosity there was one 
which especially is worthy of mention,, inasmuch as it was a 
benefaction which brought a ten-fold return. As early as 1820 
he gave the command of the schooner " Comet/ 7 originally a 
privateer in the War of 1812, and which he had purchased, to an 
impecunious friend, one Captain Brown, who, however, con 
tinued to be pursued by bad luck in every venture. McLaren, 
nevertheless stuck to him and advanced him several thousand 
dollars to help him to a fresh start in business. Captain Brown s 
affairs took a turn and he acquired what at that time was con 
sidered a princely fortune. He did not forget the generous hand 
which had lifted him from the mire of poverty. He was one of 
the wealthiest men in Arkansas, and at his death it was found 
that his early benefactor was down in his will for $100,000. Col. 
U. Brown, for he bore that title at the period of his death, was 
one of the most popular men in the State. The hero of that act 
of friendship was the father of the famous fighter, Commodore 
Brown, of the Confederate navy, whose exploit in running the 
Union blockade at the mouth of the Yazoo Elver forms one of 
the thrilling incidents of the late War of the Eebellion. The 
blockading fleet seemed to have cut off all hope of escape, but 
Commodore Brown took it by surprise, dashed boldly through in 
the early morning and got away with a badly crippled but still 
seaworthy vessel, the ram " Arkansas." After the war the gal 
lant tar purchased a cotton plantation in Mississippi just opposite 
Helena, Ark v and lived there in delightful retirement until 
within a few years. There, too, Mr. Eice, the prince of clowns, 
has often been entertained by his friend and admirer of his 
father. 

In the latter part of his life Dan Eice s father succeeded 
to the sole grocery business in Pine Street, New York. One 
hundred thousand dollars in uncollectable debts remained on his 
books when he died, and their perusal offers the student of human 
nature a curious satire on the morals of what we term society 
even that long ago. McLaren s generosity was not confined to 
the extension of credit to hungry and thirsty gentility. In his 
papers there is a hotel bill which he paid at Saratoga for the 
lovely and unfortunate wife of that Blennerhassett who was 
tempted to his destruction by his friend Aaron Burr. It read as 
follows: SARATOGA SPRINGS, August 14, 1832. 

MRS. SARAH BLENNERHASSETT, TO LEWIS PUTNAM, DR. 
To Board and Entertainment for Mrs. B., serv t and child, 

being 2 weeks $13 

Eec d Thirteen dollars from D. McLaren this Aug t 14, in full 

LEWIS PUTNAM. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 7 

This lady was the wife of the celebrated Harman Blenner- 
hassett, who was a victim of Burr s conspiracy. He was born in 
Hampshire, England, but possessed of large Irish estates, which 
he sold for $100,000 and came to America in 1797, where he pur 
chased an island of 170 acres on the Ohio Kiver, a short distance 
below Parkersburg, Va. Upon this island he built a fine man 
sion, with all the embellishments which wealth and taste could 
command. His home became widely known for its elegance and 
the culture that distinguished its inmates, and among the visitors 
to this beautiful retreat was Aaron Burr, who became acquainted 
there in 1805. He soon enlisted his host in his Mexican schemes 
in the belief that the country was likely to be involved in a war 
with Spain, and a fortune might easily be made by enterprise. 
Burr was to be emperor and Blennerhasset a duke and ambas 
sador to England. In this way Blennerhasset was induced to 
invest largely in boats, provisions, arms, and ammunition. He 
left his home and family and went to Kentucky, where being 
warned of Burr s real designs; he returned to the island greatly 
disheartened. However, through Burr s solicitations, backed by 
his wife s influence, who had now enlisted in the undertaking 
with her whole soul, he yielded to the overture of the project. 

A proclamation against the scheme having been published 
by President Jefferson, Blennerhassett, who was in hourly expec 
tation of being arrested, escaped from the island and, managing 
to elude pursuit, joined Burr s flotilla at the mouth of the Cum 
berland Kiver. He was afterward arrested and sent to Rich 
mond for trial in 1807, but the case against Burr having resulted 
in acquittal, the other conspirators were discharged. 

In the meantime his island had been seized by creditors and 
everything upon it that could be converted into money was sold 
at a ruinous sacrifice. The beautiful grounds were used for the 
culture of hemp, the mansion being converted into a storehouse 
for the crops. In 1811 he endeavored to recover from Governor 
Alston, Burr s son-in-law, $22,500, a balance of some $50,000 
for which he alleged Alston was responsible. He afterward 
bought 1,000 acres of land near Port Gibson, Miss., for a cotton 
plantation, on which ground Dan Rice has many a time since 
erected his show tent. But the War of 1812 prostrated all com 
mercial enterprises. Becoming continually poorer, in 1819 he 
removed his family to Montreal, where for a time he practiced 
law. He subsequently sailed for Ireland in 1822 to prosecute 
a reversionary interest still existing there, and in this he failed. 
He next endeavored to procure employment from Portugal and 
from the United States of Colombia. But during the latter years 
of his life he was supported by his maiden sister who, at her 
death, bequeathed her property to his wife and children. 



8 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Mine. Blennerhassett published two volumes of poetry in 
1822, " The Deserted Isle " and in 1824 " The Widow of the 
Eock." Henry Clay presented to Congress her petition for re 
imbursement for her losses by the United States, but she died 
before it could be acted on, in the care of the Sisters of Charity 
in New York City. Dan Eiee s father paid for the education of 
one of her sons, the lawyer, afterward a somewhat noted prac 
titioner, who became a citizen of St. Louis, where Dan Eice has 
often been his client. Mrs. Blennerhassett was a lovely and 
virtuous woman, who won the respect and admiration of all who 
knew her. 

In taking a backward glance at the career of Aaron Burr, it is a 
pathetic appeal to the humanizing instincts that mark the gener 
ous thought of our progressive age. With his proud spirit broken 
by the weight of repeated failures; when his foes assailed him in 
the decline of his power and his friends had not the courage to 
uplift him in his helplessness, he turned in sorrow and humilia 
tion from the social world and vanished into retirement, appeal 
ing to his daughter, Mrs. Alston, of South Carolina, to come to 
him and thus, by her presence, help him to regain a renewed 
hold on life. This request from her father touched the sensitive 
nature of Mrs. Alston, and as her failing health required a change 
of climate, she decided to join him on Staten Island and share 
his loneliness. All the world knows the sad sequel, and can ten 
der its generous sympathy, even at this late day, for the anguish 
of one of our most conspicuous lights of the historical past. 

When the news finally reached Aaron Burr in New York, that 
his daughter, Theodosia, had lost her life on the North Carolina 
coast by the wrecking of the pilot boat " Patriot," on which she 
had taken passage in order to reach her father at the earliest 
possible moment, his strong spirit was crushed by his terrible 
loss and her sad misfortune. In the midst of these trials, when 
the shadows were gathering fast around his life, and painful 
memories thrust their realities before him for future retrospect, 
he sent for his trusted and valued friend, Daniel McLaren, know 
ing full well that his sympathies were genuine and his friendship 
unalloyed. Mr. Eice informs us that Burr entrusted to his 
father the management of a private arrangement to investigate 
the wrecking of the " Patriot," for floating rumors aroused a sus 
picion that the vessel might probably have fallen into the hands 
of the land pirates who infested the Carolina coast and those of 
other States where the sand-bars and other formations made it 
dangerous for shipping in those times when the government 
signals were sparsely scattered along the water line. The land 
pirates, taking advantage of that fact, continued to follow their 
unholy calling by placing decoy signals, luring the vessels out 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 9 

of safe paths in tempestuous weather and causing them to strand 
on the bars and shoals; when, under the pretense of giving aid to 
the unfortunate crew and passengers in acts of mercy., they would 
board the stranded wreck, secure the valuables, and inhumanly 
compel the people to " walk the plank." 

Many a life was lost under such circumstances, and many dark 
deeds and weird scenes were enacted, whose haunting memories 
still live in the shadowed history of those early days. Being 
satisfied that such was the fact in regard to the unfortunate 
" Patriot/ upon which the daughter of Aaron Burr took passage, 
Daniel McLaren, as previously intimated, privately planned and 
financially supported the investigation that successfully proved 
beyond a doubt the truth of the rumors that reported the fatality 
of the pilot boat "Patriot" on the first day of January, 1813. 
At that period there was a shrewd, prominent public character 
in New York, by the name of Hayes, and Mr. Rice informs us 
that, judging from his father s description and his own personal 
boyhood knowledge of the man, he possessed all the intriguing 
qualities of a Byrnes and the penetrating cleverness of the 
Pinkertons of to-day, in the subtle points of the police and de 
tective service. This man, possessing all these natural capacities, 
was well fortified for the mission to unravel the tangled ends of 
the mystery surrounding the death of Aaron Burr s beautiful 
daughter. 

So Daniel McLaren, interesting himself in the cause of suffer 
ing humanity, secured this man s confidence and furnished him 
with funds to promote the object, and satisfy his old friend and 
previous instructor as to the real fate of his cherished child. 
Therefore, nearly six months after the wrecking of the " Patriot/ 
Mr. Hayes started from New York, furnished with ample means, 
disguises, etc., and with such instructions as would assist him 
in his mission of mercy, and arrived in Norfolk, Va., on the first 
day of June. In due time he began his investigations. Dis 
guising himself as a sailor, he visited their lodging-houses and 
resorts, and by affecting the seaman s swagger, slang, etc., he 
soon became quite popular among the seafaring fraternity, and 
won, in time, their confidence. In making inroads upon their 
prejudices by offering occasional " grogs " whenever and wher 
ever they met, he gained an insight into the true character of the 
different individuals; and, by insinuating his familiarities, he 
gradually began to weave his web around the victims. After 
succeeding, by long, persistent efforts, in finding among his boon 
companions the wreckers of the " Patriot," he sought their so 
ciety and gained their confidence to such a degree that they re 
vealed their places of rendezvous and gave to him the secrets of 
the wrecking system. The vantage ground of the " bankers " 



10 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

was on the long sand-bars that fence the coast outside of Curri- 
tuck, Albemarle, and Pamlico Sound, and they explained for his 
benefit the " bankers " method, and related, among other inci 
dents, the story of the wreck of the " Patriot," and of their im 
plication in the death of the crew and passengers, among whom 
was a beautiful lady. Mr. Hayes was now confident that he had 
sufficient evidence to justify his opinion that he had the 
assassins within his grasp, so he hastened the proceedings. He 
had the three men placed under arrest, and, at the hearing before 
the magistrate, they made a confession and gave to the world 
the solved mystery of the " Patriot." The main incidents at 
the trial were as follows: 

A decoy signal had lured the fated " Patriot " on a sand-bank 
off Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, and the " bankers," after board 
ing the vessel, rifled the crew and passengers of money, jewels, 
and other valuables. Every individual was either killed in hand- 
to-hand combat or forced to " walk the plank." 

To the great surprise of the pirates, the beautiful lady, who 
was none other than Theodosia, the daughter of Aaron Burr, 
sprang forward of her own accord, and, rushing along the cruel 
pathway, threw her arms imploringly to heaven as she sank be 
neath the waves. And the sweet spirit of Theodosia Burr was 
soon beyond the reach of such painfully cruel experiences in the 
calm of a merciful forgetfulness. Before she made the fatal 
plunge, the leader of the pirates, perhaps imbued at that moment 
by a faint gleam of conscience, shouted his orders to " save the 
lady." But they came too late to prevent the tragedy. Thus 
perished one of the most beautiful, accomplished, and perfect 
women of those days of chivalry. Besides being the daughter of 
a man whose historic career had made him famous as a true friend 
to those who had tested his friendship, and an enemy to be feared 
when justice to himself demanded it, this superior woman was 
also the gifted wife of Governor Alston, of South Carolina, who 
worshipped her memory as the fleeting years brought him nearer 
to the pure retreat of her spirit s home. Thus, through the com 
bined efforts of Daniel McLaren and Mr. Hayes, together with 
the full approval of Aaron Burr, the death of that lovely woman, 
Theodosia Burr- Alston was avenged, and the three arrested men, 
Abner Smith, Joseph Gale, and George Eoebeck, the self-ac 
cused criminals, paid the penalty with their lives, being hanged 
on June 28, 1813. 

The only hope that served to brighten the declining years of 
Aaron Burr had vanished with his daughter s life, and he never 
ceased to mourn her loss. Being in ill-health at the time, almost 
ruined socially and financially, and living in anticipation of the 
expected coming of his daughter, who had previously written to 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 11 

him that she would take passage on the " Patriot " in coming to 
New York, as Captain Carter was her husband s friend, and she 
would feel safe under his supervision in the hazardous journey 
before her, he felt that her presence would, in a measure, serve 
to harmonize conflicting opinion and cause a smoother flow as he 
drifted down with advancing years. But the realization never 
came, and instead, the sobbing sea sent forth a dirge that moaned 
the passing of his daughter s life. 

Mr. Eice tells us that his father s authority in guarding the 
memory of this man is unbiased in its authenticity, notwithstand 
ing the fact that the world has been prejudiced and taught to 
think differently. Mr. McLaren has said that " those who 
were closely associated with Aaron Burr and were intimately 
acquainted with the inside character of his private life never 
failed to find anything but grand incentives engendered in his 
great mind, that have ever been misinterpreted, because of 
a universal failure to approach his nature correctly, and t give 
honor to whom honor is due/ The proof of which is evident 
in the fact that his natural pride never indulged in controversies 
in defence of himself." 



CHAPTEK II. 

THE MAN AH AN ROMANCE THE MOTHER^ REMARRIAGE LITTLE 
DAN S BOYHOOD DAYS IN NEW YORK HE LEARNS TO 
RIDE AT FIVE, AND BECOMES A SUCCESSFUL QUARTER- 
HOUSE JOCKEY TAKEN BY MANAHAN TO PHILADELPHIA 
AND TRENTON TO RIDE, WITHOUT HIS MOTHER S KNOWL 
EDGE SERVING MILK IN A MINIATURE CART THE TWO 
DUFFY BROTHERS DAN ? S INDEPENDENT NATURE HIS 
ADVENTURES PETER COOPER HIS LIFELONG FRIEND. 

WHEN little Dan Rice had spent two years on the farm in 
New Jersey, where he acquired his love of fresh air and 
nature, his mother, who had resumed her maiden name since 
her separation from his father, went to New York on a visit to 
her sister, Mrs. Hugh Reed, who lived at the corner of Centre and 
Franklin Streets, near where the Tombs now stands. The milk 
Baby Dan drank, while on this visit, came from Manahan & Mills, 
who managed one of the largest dairies in the city, and it was 
served each morning by Mr. Manahan himself. In those days 
Manahan was considered a handsome man of pleasing address, 
and Miss Crum was young and gifted in like manner; therefore 
it is not strange that Cupid s darts pierced both hearts and 



12 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

created a courtship, for such it proved to be, that was carried on 
like that of the reapers and milkmaids in the old song, " In the 
early morn." 

The young mother had, during the early part of their acquaint 
ance, confided to him the story of her life and unpropitious mar 
riage, and as she was then beyond the age of parental interfer 
ence, she accepted his proposal, and after six months they were 
married at the home of her sister, Mrs. Eeed. As the mother had 
command of the one thousand dollars received from her former 
husband, at which time she assumed the position of trustee of 
her boy, she very unwisely allowed a portion of this sum to be 
invested in purchasing the dairy interest of Mills, Manahan s 
partner, and also in still further increasing the capacity of the 
establishment. The newly wedded pair had commenced house 
keeping on Mulberry Street, at a point between Spring and 
Prince Streets, and were seemingly devoted to each other; and in 
consequence everything opened propitiously for a happy future. 

Contrary to the usual custom under similar circumstances, 
little Dan was an especial favorite with his stepfather, who ever 
treated him with parental affection, so that his early life was 
nurtured in love and tenderness. 

Through all the peculiar phases of his varied life, Mr. Rice 
has never forgotten the first accident which befell him in those 
early days, and it was, indeed, of such a character as to leave a 
lasting impression through life. Shortly after Manahan s mar 
riage, he one day carried little Dan to the dairy stable, in which 
there was a great commotion amongst the cattle, and he found 
that a fractious cow had broken loose. Before unfastening the 
stable door, with a view of securing the unruly animal, Manahan 
stood the boy upon a plank lying across a huge square box of 
stable earth. It required several minutes to restore order in the 
stable, but when he returned for Dan he was startled to find that 
he was no longer in sight. He rushed to the box where the only 
evidence of the boy s existence was seen in the shape of a small 
pair of red shoes projecting from the surface. He had toppled 
over headforemost into the vat, and when drawn out was in 
sensible. Had he remained a few seconds longer, this history 
would never have been written. His first visit to a stable re 
sulted unfavorably in a disgusting experience, but did not re 
strain him from making repeated trips to where the cattle were 
stabled, and as time advanced, his childish labor performed its 
share in the demands of increasing cares. He was accustomed 
to say in after years that he " matured so early because he had 
been manured so early." the clown s initiative of his premature 
entrance into the world s cares and its strifes. And a friend has 
also remarked of Mr. Rice, when drawing a comparison, that " A 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 13 

jewel found in an ofl al pile loses none of its worth, but sparkles 
with increased brilliancy when worn upon the bosom of virtue." 

Instruction, also, at an early age was not lacking to open to 
the precocious mind of little Dan liice the rudiments of theories 
that were of such vital importance in his early advent into prac 
tical experiences. When he was four years of age he was sent to 
school regularly; therefore the foundation was laid for the re- 
suits that followed in succession in after years. 

The Manahan dairy had in the meantime nourished and the 
town had grown in such close proximity to it, that a sale was 
consummated by Dan s parents and the proceeds were invested 
in Thirteenth Street near Sixth Avenue. Success again followed 
the Manahan dairy and it prospered, but the city still continued 
to grow, and finally encroached upon it once more, when a second 
sale was made, and Manahan established his business in a locality 
now occupied by Twenty-sixth Street and Sixth Avenue, but 
which was at that time a remote spot just opposite the Varian 
Farm. A new era now opened in the life of the little lad, and it 
was to his stepfather s love for horses that Dan owed the be 
ginning of his career on the turf. Manahan taught him to ride 
when he was five years old, and he became an expert quarter- 
horse rider by the time he reached the age of seven. His step 
father had a passion for quarter-racing, which was then a prime 
sport with a large portion of the inhabitants of Manhattan Island, 
as such pastimes invariably are in such primitive neighborhoods. 
In these quarter-mile races Dan was generally successful. 

Manahan was the owner of a blooded mare named Black Maria, 
which he had matched for a half-mile dash against an equally 
celebrated mare belonging to a man named Ludlow. The race 
was arranged to come off at Hoboken upon the New Jersey side 
of the North Eiver, and the excuse that Manahan made for tak 
ing Dan away from his mother was that he wanted him to assist 
in driving home a milch cow. While the party waited at the 
ferry landing for the boat, the boy, with his natural curiosity ever 
on the alert, was attracted by the sight of the shipping, and 
stepping around a pile of cordwood to obtain a better view, 
grasped a projecting stick which happened to be loose and was 
instantly precipitated into the water, which, as the weather was 
cold, was thinly covered with ice. The child sank beneath the 
surface, but a sailor from a sloop lying at anchor near by had 
witnessed the accident, plunged in, securing the boy as he rose, 
and saved him from drowning. Manahan was naturally much 
alarmed and offered the man ten dollars for risking his life to 
save that of the lad, but the sailor refused to receive it, remarking 
" it would be a mean business for a man to make a charge for sav 
ing a fellow-creature from drowning." The small fellow-crea- 



14: KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

ture had, in the meantime, met with a narrow escape, and after 
he had been resuscitated was put to bed in the Bear Tavern, situ 
ated on the site of the well-known Everett s Hotel in Barclay 
and Vesey Streets. Every precaution was taken to prevent the 
development of unpleasant results that might arise from his ac 
cidental plunge, and by the time his clothing was dried he was 
again in a condition to meet the requirements of the racing pro 
gram, and as an example of the elastic frame and physical en 
durance of young Kice, it may be stated that within two hours 
after the immersion he was on his way to Hoboken, and that he 
came off the victor in a well-contested race. These scenes oc 
curred in 1828, and it may here be mentioned that little Dan 
heard the declaration of the noble sailor who saved his life, and 
he treasured it deep in his heart, for from that day he evinced 
a lively interest in whatever concerned the welfare and advance 
ment of seafaring men. In after life, his contributions to the 
building of Seamen s Bethels and donations to Seamen s Homes 
were fruitful testimony of the warm feeling he cherished in their 
behalf, nor has any seaman in distress ever appealed to him for 
assistance without having cause to hold Dan Rice in grateful 
remembrance. The assertion can be sustained that sturdy little 
Dan actually rode quarter-races for his stepfather when he was so 
small that it was found necessary to insure safety by tying him 
on the horse, a fact that appeals as a protest against Manahan 
initiating infancy into the reckless sports of the racing. 

Old New York residents may remember the old yellow tavern 
that stood on a road that represents the present Sixth Avenue, 
the space between the tavern and Twenty-first Street being ex 
actly a quarter of a mile. This was the track upon which these 
quarter-races were run, and many an audience composed of the 
sporting fraternity cheered the jockey in embryo on these occa 
sions, and those nearest to him by natural ties little dreamed that 
in the early future he would begin his life s career by an opening 
on the racecourse. Although Dan was so young and small, yet 
he was remarkably strong and athletic, and hence was soon in 
demand as a rider. He was so proficient in the exercises that 
the prominent sporting character, Jim Kelly, of Philadelphia, 
who owned a celebrated horse named Snowball, induced Manahan 
to take Dan to that city to ride him a thousand-yard race. Snow 
ball was, without doubt, the fastest horse of his time, and it is 
questionable if his superior exists at this day in point of speed. 
He was matched against General Wilkinson s horse, Buck. It 
may be here mentioned that General Wilkinson is the officer cred 
ited by common report in those days with having given informa 
tion to the government concerning the expedition of Aaron 
Burr, although he was in Mr. Burr s employ. Snowball 




KICK IN COSTUME OF Silt WILLIAM HAKCOUKT 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 15 

was a bad one to get off from the score. He had a habit of rear 
ing that would at times throw him off his balance and he would 
fail over backwards, and upon many occasions caused serious 
injury to the rider. After several efforts in this event they got 
a send-off, and were neck and neck, when about half-way up the 
track Buck bolted towards the cemetery, and first swerving from 
the course, he made a sudden stop at the stone wall. The boy 
who rode him was thrown over the wall, and his head striking 
full upon a tombstone, the skull was fractured and he was taken 
up dead. 

Dan was next taken to Trenton to ride at the Fall Meeting, 
where he was engaged by the owner to exercise the ill-natured 
Buck who had caused so fatal a termination to the race at Phila 
delphia. Young as he was and inheriting a love for animals that 
had in it no trace of fear, Dan felt sure he could cure the horse 
of bolting and was willing to ride. Buck was matched against 
a mare named " Big Larry s Mare," her owner being Big Larry, 
a member of the sporting fraternity who lived in Brooklyn and 
tipped the scales at three hundred pounds. There was a large 
attendance and considerable betting. It was an even race until 
they came to the homestretch, where there was a fence on each 
side of the track, and at this point Buck made an attempt to bolt. 
He had previously had some experience of Dan s discipline with 
the butt of the whip, and quick as thought it was brought down 
with a heavy blow on his nose. This proved to be an effectual 
persuader, for there was no other attempt at bolting, and Dan 
brought him home a winner by half a length. Manahan was 
highly elated over the success of little Dan as a race rider and in 
tended to take him again to Trenton to attend the regular fall 
meeting of the Jockey Club, and in the interval returned home. 
He had won considerable money during the trip to Philadelphia 
and Trenton, to which was added that which Dan had earned by 
riding. The prospective attendance at the meeting of the Jockey 
Club came, to naught, and Dan remained home the whole of that 
winter. Child as he was, he milked four cows every morning 
before daylight, afterwards driving a milk-cart, for Manahan 
had a special one of small size made for him to deliver milk to 
a certain round of customers. Thus he was also early initiated 
in a business capacity, and it will be observed that the home life 
of the little man was tilled with all the novelty and endless variety 
of tasks that are comprised in a busy home. His mother, not 
withstanding her failing health, regularly attended the church 
service on Sunday, at which times little Dan s presence was also 
indispensable; and besides, he was required to attend the Sabbath- 
school, the impressions of which were lasting, for it brought into 
action all the eloquence and moral suasion that his mother could 



16 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

command to prove to him that a duty neglected is something 
eternally lost. 

In the spring., at his mother s request, he was taken from the 
charge of the milk route and sent to a school located in what 
is now the Seventh Avenue near Twenty-first Street, New York 
City. With the spirit for mischief reigning uppermost in his 
boyish nature, it seemed almost impossible to interest him in 
school tasks, and, as he was very apt, he intuitively caught, at a 
glance, that which would prove hard work to others of his little 
companions. The restless promptings of his active temperament 
often led him into committing heedless offences, and, when the 
summer came, school life was a secondary affair in his opinion, 
and the balmy air offered its allurements in numerous tempta 
tions that often caused him to play the truant and led him to the 
riverside. Dan and his half-brother, William, went frequently 
with other boys to the North Eiver to watch the swimmers; and 
among these truants there would invariably be found two 
brothers named Peter and Barney Duffy. As little Dan Rice s 
friendships were warm and true, he formed a great liking for 
these two brothers, and they claimed a large share of his boyish 
patronage. Upon one occasion, while watching the pastimes of 
the swimmers, they stood upon an uncertain raft on the water, 
and Dan, in his natural forgetfulness of all else except the fun, 
unfortunately fell in through an airhole, and would certainly 
have been drowned if it had not been for the presence of mind in 
that great-hearted lad, Peter Duffy, who slipped down through 
the hole and with a great effort caught Dan as he was rising, but 
not before he had floated under the logs. It was an act of mercy 
that bound more closely the friendship of the two boys; and, re 
gardless of the distance between them in after years, and the 
difference in their careers, that one event was never bridged 
over by forgetfulness. Peter was somewhat of a pugilist when 
a boy, and gave Dan his first instructions in boxing, and, whether 
to his credit or not, Dan proved an apt pupil, and found many 
opportunities in his after life in which to bring young Duffy s 
theory into practice, to which many a previous antagonist can 
testify, even at this late day. Dan s gratitude to Peter Duffy was 
evinced in later years in an extraordinary way. 

The next event that occurred in little Dan s life was his 
entrance to the Kellogg Seminary that stood at Prince Street and 
Broadway, and to which he was driven every morning by one of 
his father s employees, who also returned for him in the evening. 
This state of affairs would have proved of incalculable benefit to 
the lad had he been left to the entire management of his devoted 
mother, but Mr. Manahan s great love for sport was the handi 
capping hindrance to his improvement at the Seminary, for on 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE IT 

Saturdays he would create some business excuse, and take little 
Dan to some prearranged rendezvous to ride quarter-races. 

Tucker s Lane,, near Harlem, had now superseded the old Yellow 
Tavern for those quarter stretches, and this place was the scene 
of the boy s next advent in the racing world. The excitement 
attending these races soon had a tendency to give him a distaste 
for school and filled his young mind with ideas that made him 
restless when under restraint, and as a result, on one occasion, 
to gain his entire freedom, he ran off with Peter Duffy and re 
mained away two days and nights. The two boys were afraid to 
return home when they awakened to the serious strait into which 
the misdemeanor had led them; so, to preserve their independ 
ence, they obtained situations in Peter Cooper s glue factory. 
While there, they were as full of mischief as it is possible for two 
such exuberant spirits to be, and indulged in all sorts of pranks 
in consequence. Upon one occasion, one little fellow thought 
lessly dared the other to follow him to the extreme edge of a roof 
of the factory, and Mr. Cooper at that moment happened on the 
scene and, from beneath apprehending the danger, commanded 
them to stop. He ordered an employee to place a ladder against 
the eaves and bring the boys down, after which he boxed their 
ears as a form of mild rebuke, and having previously found out 
who they were, sent them directly to their homes under escort. 
Little Dan received a severe chastisement at the hands of his step 
father, but the spirit of the lad was not broken nor even sub 
dued, and he resented the indignity by again running away. 
This time he repaired to the home of his aunt, Mrs. Hugh Reed, 
who lived in Centre Street opposite the Collect. Being a great 
favorite of hers, he was sure of a warm sympathy in his behalf, 
which she was not slow in rendering; so Dan felt encouraged 
to resort once more to his native independence, and his cousin 
Hugh procured for him a situation in Lorillard s tobacco factory, 
where he expected to be initiated in a new field of action. But 
he was not destined to remain long in his new surroundings, for 
his stepfather, having learned of his whereabouts, went to the 
establishment, and, adopting a process radically different from 
the previous policy he had employed, persuaded the little lad to 
return home with him, and as a panacea to cover the results of 
his former harshness, offered him a handful of silver coins. The 
compromise being satisfactory, the boy returned to his home and 
commenced life again under the old regime, again attending the 
school, and upon Saturdays, as in previous times, being taken 
by his stepfather to ride the quarter-races. 

It is worthy of mention here that Mr. Manahan never after 
ward resorted to harsh severity with his stepson; for experience 
had taught him that the high-spirited lad inherited a nature that 
2 



18 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

would not bear it. Living as he did, in an atmosphere where 
impending shadows seemed ever intruding, although nurtured 
with the fondest care his gentle mother could bestow, he, with 
the quick perception of childhood, intuitively felt that something 
was going wrong as her health gradually failed, and her increasing 
efforts in his behalf filled the little man s heart with an awe that 
only his matured mind, in later years, could interpret. 

It has ever been characteristic of Mr. Rice to remember the 
friends of his early days, and his benevolent spirit can be traced 
in many circumstances that bear evidence of this manly attribute, 
that caused many a heart to take on new courage when his be 
hests have been extended ungrudgingly and with wide-open hand. 

In the palmy days of affluence, during the height of his pro 
fessional career, one little incident, out of scores of others of 
greater moment, may be mentioned here. Mr. Rice had ever 
been grateful to Peter Duffy for his kindness to him in his early 
days, and, having a strong desire to remunerate his old friend 
with something more substantial than words, he had a deed 
drawn in Duffy s name for a handsome farm of two hundred acres 
near Mr. Rice s old home in Girard, Pa., fully equipped with 
stock and appurtenances, and presented the deed to him per 
sonally. As Mr. Duffy had always been a proverbial city man, 
his ideas of life at farming were somewhat crude. He felt that 
he could not honorably accept that which he was entirely un 
fitted for, so with tears in his honest eyes as he looked in Mr. 
Rice s face, he remarked, " Why, Lord bless you, Dan, Fd starve 
to death on a farm! " 

Late in the fall and winter of 1857-58 when Mr. Rice had his 
great show at Niblo s Garden, he visited Mr. Cooper at his lovely 
home on Lexington Avenue, and when he made known to that 
gentleman who he was, Mr. Cooper remarked, " Are you the 
famous clown jester, Dan Rice, that I read so much about in the 
papers? " To which Mr. Rice replied, that he represented that 
personage. In the course of conversation Mr. Rice related to Mr. 
Cooper the subject of his boyish pranks at the glue factory and 
mentioned the practical reprimand he received from his hand, 
and added, " The impress of your hand on my ears, Mr. Cooper, 
I have never forgotten, and I think such impressions made at the 
right time often follow a boy through life." To which he made 
a laughing reply that they often did, and asked what had be 
come of the other boy. Mr. Rice informed him that Peter Duffy 
was now a respected citizen and struggling manfully with the 
stream of human adventure. Mr. Cooper s retentive memory 
held many reminiscences of those earlier years, which were as 
vivid as when they first occurred. 

He had a fondness for horses and trained animals and advo- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 19 

cated athletic sports, so Mr. Rice invited him to bring his family 
to Xiblo s that evening and see the exhibition, which he did, and 
expressed himself as highly pleased with every phase of the per 
formance. During Mr. Cooper s presidential campaign in 1876, 
Mr. Rice being a great admirer of the distinguished candidate, 
distributed over three hundred thousand circulars favoring Mr. 
Cooper s election as he travelled with the great show through 
the different States. 

In April, 1883, when Mr. Rice was in New York, he was again 
the guest of Mr. Cooper, and accepted an invitation to accompany 
him to the Cooper Union, where he was to deliver an address 
that evening. The weather was decidedly unpropitious, and, 
Mr. Cooper, being very infirm, gladly availed himself of Mr. 
Rice s assistance, and with his help ascended the steps and 
reached the auditorium, taking Mr. Rice with him on the plat 
form. The chairman of the evening, who introduced Mr. Cooper, 
in the course of his remarks paid a fine tribute to the many 
philanthropic acts of that gentleman, who had done so much 
towards placing advantages within the reach of the people who 
had aspiring minds, and especially in the erection of the grand 
building in which they were assembled. " It is a home," he said, 
" in which growing minds can develop and grapple with the 
difficult problems of theory and learn how to apply them prac 
tically in the requirements of every-day life. And the Cooper- 
Union will ever be a monument to the philanthropic donor whose 
honored name it bears." Mr. Cooper rose slowly to address that 
vast concourse of people, and in his opening remarks said that, 
while he had been enabled to do much toward the advancement of 
the deserving, he very much regretted that he had not been able 
to do more. That which he had been instrumental in doing had 
been confined chiefly to local objects; but he took great pleasure 
in introducing to that vast assemblage a distinguished gentleman, 
the famous clown and jester, Mr. Dan Rice, whose philanthropic 
acts were universally scattered broadcast throughout the land, 
and his last achievement that he had read of commended itself 
to all loyal, loving people that of erecting, at his own personal 
expense, in Girard, Pa., a splendid monument, commemorating 
the deeds of the heroic dead who sacrificed their lives in the War 
of the Rebellion. At Mr. Cooper s mention of the monument 
the audience gave an enthusiastic and prolonged applause, to 
which Mr. Rice responded by rising and gracefully bowing his 
acknowledgment of their appreciation of his efforts. Mr. Cooper 
then continued his remarks; but, in a short time, begged the 
audience to excuse him as he was not feeling well. He repaired 
at once to his home, accompanied by Mr. Rice, his indisposition 
increasing meanwhile, and he partook of a hot beverage to coun- 



20 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

teract the chill superinduced by exposure to the damp and frosty 
night air. Mr. Kice bade him good-night and went to his hotel, 
feeling, with the rest of his friends, that Mr. Cooper would in a 
short time be restored to his usual good health, but in a few days 
was surprised and pained to read the obituary in a morning 
paper. Thus another grand life passed to his reward, garnered 
into the progressive state unseen by mortal eyes. 



CHAPTER III. 

A MEMORABLE NIGHT AT THE 

DOMESTIC TROUBLES HIS M 

AHAN S REMORSE YOUNG DAN LEAVES HOME AND BEGINS 

LIFE ON HIS OWN RESPONSIBILITY FROM SCHOOL TO 

SADDLE HIS SUCCESS IN THE RACING WORLD NOTES ON 

THE CLOWN AND THE CLERGYMAN DANIEL McLAREN^S 

BEREAVEMENT. 

WHILE this state of affairs was pending, Mr. Manahan had 
began to show a disposition to neglect his family and to 
frequently absent himself from them at night; and Dan, taking 
advantage of the fact, would steal away from his home in com 
pany with young Duffy, and together they would wander down 
town, bent on seeking amusement. They frequently went to the 
Bowery Theatre and caught the passion for the play. On one 
occasion a ghostly performance was being enacted, in which there 
was a scene representing a graveyard with apparitions of demons, 
etc., and Mr. Charles Parsons, one of the greatest tragedians of 
that day, acted the leading part. It created a marked sensation 
in the audience and the younger element especially were pro 
foundly impressed. Our two young heroes being numbered with 
the latter, it is to be inferred that they also were afflicted with the 
contagion. 

It was near midnight when the play ended, and Dan and 
young Duffy started immediately for their homes. They parted 
in Thirteenth Street, where Peter lived, and our little man 
pursued his way home alone with his mind wrought to a high 
state of excitement by what he had experienced. He sturdily 
strode along rapidly, ruminating on the gruesome incidents of the 
evening, when suddenly there started up across his path a large 
black dog, and, to his exaggerated vision, it was, indeed, the 
largest he had ever seen. It was a moment of great terror to the 
boy, the lateness of the hour dawned upon him, and, with his 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 21 

nervous temperament strained to the utmost, he imagined that it 
was the evil one himself that had come to frighten him out of 
existence. As a natural consequence., the supreme moment came 
when the great black creature bounded away, and then the terri 
fied lad found safety in flight. No foot race on record was ever 
marked in better time than he accomplished, as he almost flew 
over the public thoroughfare to his home on Twenty-sixth Street 
and Sixth Avenue. No thought of the midnight marauder that 
might enter the house and molest the other inmates ever entered 
his head as he rushed in, leaving the door wide open behind him, 
and he seemed to be imbued with but one impression that " self- 
preservation is the first law of nature," and he was satisfied that 
he had found it when he jumped into bed without undressing 
and buried his head beneath the covers. Many years elapsed be 
fore he entered another theatre, for circumstances were forming 
a path in which he little dreamed his feet would wander; but the 
memory of that night was never obliterated, although the frosts 
of time have now whitened the head of our hero. 

In the meantime Dan still continued his course of studies at 
the Seminary, where the preceptor had received special instruc 
tions to improve his talents as rapidly as his capacity would allow, 
without regard to monetary consideration, therefore every effort 
was put forth to gain that end. But still the evil genius pursued 
him in the form of the races; and after witnessing the contests 
on the Union Course, to which his stepfather took him on one 
occasion, his sole ambition, regardless of all opposition to the 
contrary, was to become a great rider. It was only a step from 
the school to the saddle. The course Mr. Manahan pursued with 
the little stepson was not approved by the boy s mother, whose 
ideas were at variance in regard to Mr. Manahan s apparent in 
difference to the lad s moral well-being when he was out of the 
influence of her presence; whilst Manahan, in his mania for the 
excitement of the sports of the turf, took especial pains to invent 
misleading excuses to keep from her the knowledge of his en 
couragement of the youngster s natural bent, and little Dan him 
self with his acute perception was also cultivating an ingenious 
faculty in the same direction. 

Mr. Manahan was a man of fine presence, Dame Nature having 
bestowed upon him some of her choicest gifts in that direction; 
but it requires inherited attributes of an elevated standard to 
give character and strength to mental adornment, which he failed 
to discover, being trammelled by a spirit of inconsistency, albeit 
a liberal man in his views. The exacting Methodism of his wife 
annoyed him, his connection with turfmen and the sporting 
fraternity did not tend to strengthen his moral nature; and soon 
the winecup and its inferred associate evils made him oblivious 



22 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

of his duties as a husband and father. He was one of a coterie 
of victims led in fetters by that fille de joie, Helen Jewett, whose 
subtle charms caused many a grief in homes that were supremely 
happy before her advent. She was a Boston girl of rare beauty, 
and possessed all the accomplishments and cultivated arts that 
appeal to man s susceptibility, and, in many instances, causes his 
downfall. The real name of this woman was Mary Rogers and 
her wild race in life ended on April 10, 1836, when she fell by the 
hand of an assassin, who was one of her paramours, named Rob 
inson. The murder created a great sensation, especially among 
those who had been inveigled by the subtlety of her snares, and 
they had reaped a wretched harvest while her memory sank into 
forgetfulness. Mr. Manahan, prior to his acquaintance with 
Robinson, had become infatuated with this woman, and seem 
ingly made no effort to conceal his liaison from his wife. As the 
husband became more estranged, his conduct to his wife and 
family assumed a more unnatural bearing, until entreaty and re 
proaches alike were hopelessly unavailing. But the end was fast 
approaching when the mother s heart would forever cast aside 
the painful memories of her short but eventful life, and enter the 
new existence where time makes all things right and where for 
giveness is indeed unalloyed. It should be borne in mind that, 
although Mr3. Manahan was the mother of several children, in 
cluding little Dan, she was only on the verge of twenty-eight 
when she died, in the winter of 1831. During the consciousness 
of her last moments when she had made a disposition of William, 
Elizabeth, and Catherine, the children that composed their little 
family, Manahan betrayed one redeeming quality in his nature 
that had not been entirely eradicated by his associations, by ask 
ing her " What shall I do with Dannie ? " The mother s heart 
knowing full well the independent spirit of her cherished lad, 
answered, " He will take care of himself." Then missing his 
presence, she inquired, " Where is Dannie? " The almost heart 
broken boy had been standing outside the doorway, an eyewitness 
to the sorrowful scenes that were being enacted, but, hearing his 
own name mentioned, he hastened to his mother s side, and with 
her hand on his young head, heard the last words that proved his 
talisman through a long, eventful career. "Always look after 
your little sisters; never lose sight of them and never desert 
them." These parting words whispered in his ear reverberated 
long after the mother s form was laid to rest in the old graveyard 
at the corner of Carmine and Hudson Streets, and helped to de 
velop the spirit of self-reliance which, when in after years cir 
cumstances threw him among the mixed associations of his pro 
fessional career, stood him in such good stead. 

Soon after his mother s death, home associations proved so 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 23 

distasteful to the sensitive lad that he resolved to leave the scenes 
of his painful memories and look for something, he knew not 
what, to assist him in forgetting them. He sighed for some relief 
to deaden his first real sorrow that he could scarcely realize and 
but crudely interpret. The vacant place in the home was a 
source of sadness that was almost unbearable, and his child-heart 
was crushed with its weight of loneliness, for the gentle mother s 
absence had left an aching void. Being high-spirited, and with 
no grown relative near to advise him, he left his stepfather s 
house and exhibited the independence in his nature by seeking 
his fortune in the wide world. He never dreamed, in his heart 
broken sorrow, of appealing to any one near him by the ties of 
relationship. He manfully shouldered his own burdens and 
faced his life of fate alone. 

One day, as the early evening came on, the solitude was most 
depressing, and he determined to make a beginning in forming 
the opening chapters of his new career. He prepared, as was his 
custom, the children for retiring, and, as he embraced for the 
last time his brother and two little sisters, he mentally vowed, 
with bursting heart and eyes full of tears, that he would return to 
them when a man and take care of them. The promise he gave 
to his mother he was ever mindful of during a long period of 
active usefulness, and it has been redeemed abundantly. It may 
be mentioned here that the one thousand dollars that had been 
settled by his grandfather upon little Dan was largely expended 
\)j Mr. Manahan in New York and the residue of it was used in 
purchasing a farm at Fresh Pond (now called North Long 
Branch), on the Shrewsbury Eiver in New Jersey. The pur 
chase was made from Joseph West, an uncle of Dan s on the 
maternal side. After Dan left his home on that memorable 
evening, his previous experience inclined him to look to the turf 
for a living; so he crossed the East Eiver at Catherine Street 
ferry, and made his way to the old Union Course, back of Brook 
lyn, to which Mr. Manahan had, on several occasions, taken him. 
He was now a sturdy, agile, and strong-minded lad of eight years, 
and had already given promise of the phenomenal physical 
strength of which he has since made so much capital. He wan 
dered to the racecourse stables of Mr. John McCoun, one of the 
most experienced horse-trainers in the country, who, when he saw 
the boy, expressed great surprise that he should be so far away 
from his home at night. But when the lad explained, he compre 
hended the situation at a glance, and took the little fellow into 
the circle of his own family, and in a few days, having recognized 
his ability, he engaged him in the business, and his task was to 
exercise and ride the two-year-olds. 

It was very fortunate for the boy that he selected the guardian- 



24: REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

ship of Mr. McCoun, for that gentleman was well qualified to 
sow the seeds of first principles in the right direction in a nature 
that was so susceptible at that time of life. He became Dan s 
first patron on the turf, and it is an interesting incident to be 
remembered in that connection that John McCoun s son and suc 
cessor, Dave McCoun, won the great Suburban race on the 
Brooklyn track in 1891. 

The peculiar circumstances that caused our hero to seek the 
protecting care of Mr. McCoun were sufficient to enable him to 
take the boy at once under his special care, and he soon discovered 
that his protege would eventually become one of the best riders 
upon the course. The thought of returning the youthful truant 
to his home, or of advising his stepfather of his whereabouts, 
never entered Mr. McCoun s head, as it was a principle with him 
to relieve the unfortunate if possible. While horsemen are gen 
erally liberal and generous, and passably honest except when 
making a horse trade, their morality is universally conceded to be 
somewhat at variance, and it was Bulwer who remarked that the 
atmosphere of the stable probably had something to do with that 
fact, but, be that as it may, the knowledge of Dan s escapade 
rather advanced him than otherwise in the estimation of his 
trainer as a boy of pluck and spirit, and Mr. McCoun gave him 
every advantage to become an expert in the business and an 
honor to himself as well. Our young lad at this time, 1831, had 
just rounded his eighth year, and as he proved an apt pupil, was 
pronounced a credit to his trainer, who during his rudimentary 
training as a rider, took the liveliest interest in his advancement. 
His first professional mount was at Trenton, N. J., at the Fall 
races in 1832. President Andrew Jackson, who, with a portion 
of his cabinet, had been entertained with the great chief Black 
Hawk at dinner that day in Trenton, was present at this race, 
and Dan rode the filly Lizzie Jackson, named for the President s 
favorite niece. It was mile heats and he brought Lizzie cleverly 
to the front and passed the post a winner. As this was his first 
professional triumph, it was rendered more memorable by the 
special notice of President Jackson, who, being doubtless much 
gratified with the success of the filly named for his niece, placed 
his hand on Dan s head and said, " My boy, if you live, you will 
make either a great man or a great fool." In a measure this re 
mark was prophetic in a dual sense; he was destined to become a 
great clown. Such a compliment from the " Hero of Xew Or 
leans," filled the boy s soul with delight, and though at this late 
day memory recalls the impression of " Old Hickory s " hand 
upon his head, Mr. Rice at times remarks that it did not hit him 
hard enough to make a Jacksonian Democrat of him. After the 
Trenton episode he returned to Long Island, where his next race 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 25 

was upon a horse called April Fool, the property of Walter Liv 
ingstone, of Oyster Bay. The race was a single dash of two miles, 
which he won. The riders in this post stake were George Nel 
son, Gil. Patrick, and Charlie Hood. His next mount was 
Emilius, rated the best three-mile horse in the country, were it 
not for the fact that in the progress of a race he was liable to 
sulk and suddenly stop, and besides he was addicted to a vicious 
habit of reaching around and biting the leg of the rider. As 
Dan was selected to ride him, he agreed to do so provided he was 
permitted to adopt what measures he pleased to protect himself. 
Mr. McCoun, the trainer, who had previously had evidence of the 
boy s good judgment in such instances, gave his consent, and 
Dan had a strong leather legging made to cover the left leg, as the 
vicious creature had never been known to attack the right one. 
The legging was thickly studded with sharp brads, and when Dan 
was giving the horse a walking exercise, he allowed him full play 
of the bridle. In a brief period Emilius reached around with 
open mouth and seized the leather covering, but in a moment let 
go and did not attempt to bite until he reached a corner of a road 
on which lived a well-known individual of that day, the Daniel 
Drew of steamboat fame, and whose house was passed on the way 
to the sand track. It was there Emilius made another attempt 
to bite, holding on to the legging for a moment, but he soon again 
let go with his mouth pierced and bleeding. At the same time 
Dan increased the painful treatment by striking him over the 
nose and ears with the handle of his riding-whip. This punish 
ment repeated for a few days completely broke him of his pro 
pensity for biting. Next came the question of the best means 
of breaking him of the habit of sulking, which made him un 
reliable when the race was in progress, and to effect this, Dan 
adopted a purely original method. He brought into requisition 
a pitchfork with three sharp tines, and when exercising the horse, 
had one of the sons of Nathaniel Rhodes, who owned the sand 
track, to ride behind him on Emilius armed with the pitchfork. 
The first experiment was made on the old sand track when Dan 
was taking the horse through the process of a sweat. The fitful 
nature of the spirited creature possibly rebelled against the 
double burden he was bearing, for Emilius sulked and stood per 
fectly still. Young Rhodes thereupon applied freely the punish 
ment of the pitchfork, at which Emilius snorted, reared, plunged, 
and kicked, but the discipline was continued until he started off. 
The same treatment was subsequently repeated in a trial of speed 
which finally broke him of the habit; consequently he was en 
tered for the three-mile race, and with Dan for his rider, he won. 
The horse was the property of Duff Green, a sporting man of 
New York, who recompensed Dan for the trouble he had taken 



26 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

with his valuable racer by presenting him with a new suit of 
clothes and twenty dollars in money, which was a perquisite 
worth possessing for a boy of his age. He was taught and ad 
vised by Mr. McCoun to hold his salary and present money sub 
ject only to his personal needs, and he invariably followed that 
advice during those early days of his career which had a tendency 
to govern him to some extent in after life. But miserly instincts 
were entirely foreign to his nature, as subsequent events in his 
later life showed. 

The young boy s success in breaking this vicious racer at 
tracted great attention and made him famous among prominent 
horsemen in that locality, and, consequently, his services were 
much sought after and he became quite a hero. He was in par 
ticular complimented by Hiram Woodruff, in after years the 
chief of drivers in trotting-horse contests, especially with Flora 
Temple, and the two brothers, John I. and Jerome Snediker, 
declared him to be a "brick." The successful breaking of 
Emilius was the first knowledge Dan had of his practical capacity 
in breaking and training horses, a faculty in which, years after 
wards, he became so proficient as to cast all competition in the 
shade. About this time Dan was transferred by Mr. McCoun to 
" English Joe," a remarkable racehorse trainer, whose horses 
were stabled at John I. Snediker s, at whose hotel Dan was taken 
to board. 

His services having been transferred to " English Joe," the 
prominent young rider continued to be treated with equal con 
sideration and kindness, and on account of his genial nature and 
abundance of good-humor, Dan made many friends under these 
circumstances that brought him before the public frequently. 
He was engaged to ride two and three-year-old colts, and his pre 
vious reputation for subduing " the fiery, untamed steed " proved 
to be somewhat of a disadvantage, as it procured for him some of 
the worst and most unmanageable colts. The first horse he rode 
under his new trainer was a spirited animal called Dr. Syntax, a 
two-year-old who was a terror to all the young riders, for he 
would rear up and fall back, and in this manner had injured 
many who had attempted to ride him. During his first exercise, 
knowing full well that only severe punishment would correct 
his habits, Dan supplied himself with a heavy cowhide whip, and 
seating himself in the saddle, was prepared for any emergency. 
By meeting every attempt of the horse at rearing by punishment, 
he finally broke him of the habit, and in a two-mile post stake, 
he beat the remarkable Dosoris and two other colts. At the Fall 
meeting, John C. Stevens, a prominent gentleman and member 
of the sporting fraternity, engaged Dan Eice to ride Dosoris 
against Dr. Syntax, a two-mile race, which he easily won. His 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 27 

repeated triumphs caused much jealousy among the other riders, 
and the climax of their envy was reached when Mr. Stevens took 
Dan home to live at his house, where he spent the winter, was also 
admitted into the family circle, and was sent to school. Such 
a thoughtful arrangement on the part of Mr. Stevens for the 
boy s welfare is worthy of mention, and how few lads, compara 
tively, thus circumstanced, have such advantages in this pro 
gressive age. 

Mr. Eice says that his mother s death occurred during one of 
the most terrific blizzards ever known in New York up to that 
time, equalling the one that occurred in March, 1888, in violence 
and magnitude. Some idea of its severity can be conceived when 
he assures us that several days elapsed before they could bury the 
body, and the snowfall was so deep that the citizens turned out 
en masse along the funeral route, and made a road from the 
home, situated at the corner of Twenty-sixth Street and Sixth 
Avenue, to the churchyard, a distance of nearly two and a half 
miles. . It was only with the greatest difficulty that three of Mrs. 
Manahan s sisters, who resided in New York, could attend her 
funeral. They were the only members of her family, near and 
dear to her, who could possibly get to her residence to attend the 
last sad services. 

But there was a stranger noticed following the funeral proces 
sion at some distance. A tall, distinguished man, so muffled 
in a long, heavy Spanish cloak, that he was not recognizable. 
His peculiar style and bearing caused Mr. Eice s aunts to suspect 
that the muffled stranger was Daniel McLaren, who was their 
sister s first husband and lifelong friend. It eventually proved 
that such was, indeed, the fact; for, after the interment had been 
made and the assemblage dispersed, he was recognized by the 
sexton as he stood beside the new-made brave wherein one was 
laid who occupied and held the highest place in his mind and 
heart during a long and eventful life. 

He placed a memento on her resting place as he stood there 
painfully absorbed with his own thoughts, and finally left as 
silently as he had come. 

In after years he substantiated these facts to Mr. Eice when 
they were once more drawn together by natural ties that even the 
world could not sever. 



28 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 



CHAPTEE IV. 

HOW DAN PLAYED CARDS WITH LOUIS NAPOLEON, THE EXILED 
FRENCH PRINCE LIST OF OWNERS YOUNG RICE RODE FOR, 
AND THE RACES WITH WHICH HE BRUSHED THE TURF 
HIS MARVELLOUS JOURNEY TO BUFFALO ARRIVAL IN 
PITTSBURG. 

TTNDER the kind guardianship of Mr. Stevens, a new life 
LJ seemed to open to the growing lad, a development to new 
incentives that were encouraged by the Stevens household, for 
they recognized in Dan s indomitable will the fair promises of 
great aptitude in any vocation that he might be fitted for in the 
years to come. Encouragement coming from such a source, filled 
the boy s mind with a desire to aspire to the requirements of a 
different calling, but the time had not yet arrived for such devel 
opments, so he pursued the old course until he could meet the 
demands with a broader experience. Isaac Van Leer was Mr. 
Stevens trainer, and Dosoris was entered for the Spring meeting 
in a race of two miles and repeat. While Mr. Stevens was away 
in New York, the colt, in a trial of speed, sprained a sinew of the 
foreleg, and Dan was dispatched with a letter to him advising the 
withdrawal of the horse. Mr. Stevens was staying at the Hotel 
de Paris on Broadway, and Dan was ushered into his presence in 
a room where, with several distinguished gentlemen, he was en 
gaged in a game of draw poker. He delivered the missive to Mr. 
Stevens, who excused himself to answer the letter, at the same time 
introducing Dan. " Gentlemen," he said, " this is my favorite 
rider, Yankee Dan," and continued, " here, Dan, play this hand 
for me." One gentleman of the party, whose costume impressed 
Dan as foreign and peculiar, was addressed as Count Louis. It 
must be borne in mind that our hero, although otherwise unex 
ceptionable in his morals, had by his associations with riders and 
stablemen become an adept at cheating at card-playing, and so, 
while the rest of the party were engaged in conversation, Dan put 
up the cards, dealing his own hand from the bottom. As the 
Count was out of chips, Dan loaned him, from Mr. Stevens pile, 
seventeen dollars, and afterwards "took the pot." The Count 
Louis who impressed Dan with his personality was Louis Na 
poleon, afterwards the destined Emperor of France, who was at 
the time sojourning in the United States, and as he had a fond 
ness for the races and the sporting world in general, he spent 
much of his time at the clubs among turfmen and all good fellows 
who enjoyed the chances of the card table. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 29 

In the racing fraternity Dan was an acknowledged favorite and 
had for some time been recognized as the expert rider of his day, 
in fact one of the best on Long Island, and as his engagements 
were continuous, he remained here until 1836, when he turned 
thirteen years of age. His position brought him in contact with 
many prominent persons who interested themselves in his welfare 
and extended their friendship, which continued long after he 
had gained prominence in the world of entertainment. Among 
the well-known owners for whom he rode were Eobert L. Stevens, 
John C. Stevens, Billup Seaman, and Gibbons, of Staten Island; 
"Walter Livingstone, of Oyster Bay; Duff Green, of New York; 
Moccasin Jackson, the owner of Bucktail; Harry Sovereign, the 
owner of Oneida Chief, and Mr. Elliott, of Baltimore, owner of 
Betsy Ransom. His competitors were all noted riders of their 
day, the most prominent of which were Willis, the head rider of 
Richard M. Johnson, of Richmond, Ya.; Gil Patrick, George Nel 
son, Charley Hood, Jim and Ed. Jewell, and Hiram Woodruff. 
In each and every contest our hero acquitted himself admirably 
and won more than his share of the honors of the turf, and on 
account of his extreme youth, these continued successes were per 
haps more noticeable than they would otherwise have been under 
different circumstances. Mr. Sovereign was the owner of the 
pacing horse known as Oneida Chief that Dan rode in the unprec 
edented time of two minutes and ten seconds in a trial of speed, 
which fact created an unusual stir in the sporting circles and 
served to enhance his reputation among the turfmen in general. 

The horses rode by young Dan Rice in the course of his brief 
experience on the turf were all celebrated flyers. The most 
prominent among them were Dosoris, Dr. Syntax, Imported En 
voy, owned by Judge Wilkins, of Pennsylvania, who on his return 
to the United States from Russia, where he acted in the capacity 
of Minister Plenipotentiary, imported the horse from England 
and placed him under the training of " English Joe " at Long 
Island; Boston, when a colt of two years, April Fool, Mingo, and 
Post Boy, which he rode against the famous filly, Fannie Wyatt. 
His latest mount was Dusty Foot, one of the most remarkable 
four-mile horses of his day. Another era now opened in the life 
of the young lad, the arduous beginning of which would have 
crushed the stamina and moral courage of most men, but the 
indomitable perseverance of youth conquered in the nature that 
knew no such word as fail, and who can question the fact but 
that some unseen influence preserved the boy by leading him 
safely through the abyss of difficulties that faced him and tried 
his powers of endurance to the utmost capacity. In the year 
1837 he was destined to bid adieu to Long Island, where many 
cherished memories lingered, and assume the charge of Dusty 



30 EEMINISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 

Foot, which he rode in many of his previous races. The inten 
tion of the owner of the horse, William Goram, a Canadian by 
adoption, was to transport him to Pittsburg, Pa., by way of 
Buffalo. 

In those days, as is well known, railroad facilities in the United 
States were in their infancy, and after reaching Albany by way 
of a steam tug, Dan s instructions were to lead the horse to his 
final place of destination, and upon no account to ride him. He 
left Albany on the 20th of October, 1837, and commenced his 
wearisome journey. Most boys of his age would not have heeded 
the prohibition against riding, but notwithstanding his five years 
sojourn among the turfmen and riders of questionable morality, 
he stuck manfully to the task, and so, leading the horse with one 
hand, and with bucket, sieve, brush, and currycomb upon the 
other arm, he pluckily pursued his way. It was a dreary, tedious 
journey, and the weather became bitterly cold, with occasional 
heavy falls of snow, but although suffering severely, he bravely 
struggled on and reached Buffalo the first of December. The 
horse was consigned to Mr. Henry Mosier, who resided at Cold 
Spring, three miles from the city, where Dan found rest and re 
lief, for his feet were frostbitten and he was otherwise prostrated 
by his arduous and perilous travel. Knowing the difficulties 
through which the lad would naturally have to pass under the 
most favorable circumstances, and having some doubt as to 
whether he had not yielded to the temptation of riding the racer 
during some part of that long, tedious tramp from Albany, Mr. 
Mosier queried, " Why did you not ride the horse? " " Because 
I was forbidden," replied Dan as innocently as if he had always 
been in attendance at Sunday-school, instead of for half a decade 
the compulsory associate of sporting men and stable boys. Mr. 
Mosier gazed curiously at the lad, still almost doubting his verac 
ity, but there was such an open look of honesty and ingenuousness 
in his countenance, that, as he afterward remarked, he could not 
help being convinced, and Dan received every attention and kind 
ness in consequence. As a natural result, the fatigue and expos 
ure to the extreme cold, etc., brought on an attack of fever, during 
which Dan was tenderly nursed by the family, and when suffi 
ciently recovered to continue his journey, his host furnished him 
with ample pecuniary means to meet the requirements from day 
to day. On his way through Cattaraugus Swamp, which was 
inhabited only by Indians, he met with a novel experience as he 
passed through the reservation. 

The strange spectacle of a horse clothed in trappings and led 
by a mere boy, excited the curiosity of the Indians, and the whole 
community assembled en masse to comment upon it. They were 
so fascinated with the strange sight that they filled Dan s bucket 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 31 

to overflowing with beads, moccasins and other Indian gifts, thus 
expressing their pleasure at the appearance of the horse, and, per 
haps, sympathy for the boy who was laboring through the huge 
snowdrifts and at times compelled to shovel a path for his equine 
charge. Pursuing his way under such extreme difficulties in that 
region, he reached the town of Erie, Pa., in eight days from the 
time he left Buffalo, and was there taken under the charge of 
Gen. Charles M. Reed, who had been notified by letter and ad 
vised of Dan s coming. For the brief period that our hero re 
mained there to rest General Reed cared for him with all the 
tenderness and consideration of a father, and evinced a lively 
interest in the boy, who, in turn, was also impressed with a senti 
ment of regard that bordered upon affection for his kind enter 
tainer. 

The young boy s eventful journey closed at Pittsburg, Christ 
mas Eve, 1837, having lasted two months and four days, and 
Dusty Foot was consigned to Judge Wilkins, who, recognizing 
the lad who rode his horse on Long Island, made life very pleas 
ant for him during his stay in that hospitable home. Dan s 
faithful fulfillment of his mission had entailed the endurance of 
hardships which would have tried the stamina of the most robust 
man, but in youthful inexperience, and having no conception of 
the exorbitant demands made upon his physical endurance by 
the perils of such a journey, he never questioned the heartless 
imposition of Mr. Goram, but merely considered he had done his 
duty. 

There are certain persons still living in Pittsburg to-day who 
have every reason to remember the advent of the boy who brought 
the racer " Dusty Foot " into the city dressed in his winter 
clothes. The spectacle of a horse caparisoned and thus care 
fully guarded against the weather, caused a deal of merriment 
among the street urchins, who made Dan s entry a trifle too con 
spicuous by hooting and throwing pieces of coal, etc.; so asking 
some gentlemen, who stood near watching the proceedings, if 
they would hold the horse, to which they readily assented, our 
young hero threw aside his heavy top-coat, and, in the boy s ver 
nacular, " pitched in." He caught two of the young arabs and 
impressed his personality upon them in well-directed blows that 
ushered in his first successful boy-fight in the Smoky City. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 



CHAPTER V. 

DAN S SUCCESS AS A VENDER THE CELEBRATED RACER, DUSTY 
FOOT NICK BIDDLE S WATERLOO THE RACE WITH GEORGE 
^SEALY LIFE ON REPPERT FARM THE CHERRY PIE EPISODE 
THE FINE OLD STYLE SPORTING GENTLEMAN THE RO 
MANCE OF MADAME CELESTE AND MR. ELLIOTT. 

A FTER his wearisome journey from Albany, Dan quickly 
-LJL. recuperated under the kind treatment he received from 
the family of Judge Wilkins, and was able to meet Mr. Goram, 
the owner of Dusty Foot, who soon after came to Pittsburg, and 
the whole party retired to Wilkinsburg, a short distance from 
that place, to spend the remainder of the winter. Mr. Goram 
brought with him Barney Oldwine, a youth from Long Island, 
who was, years afterwards, a well-known pilot on the Ohio River. 
Goram, the trainer, possessed very little of this world s goods 
beyond his ownership of the racer. But being gifted with the 
genuine shrewdness of the Vermont Yankee, he felt obliged to 
bring that gift into active practice and devise some method 
whereby the party might exist until the racing season opened. 
Acting on this scheme, he constructed a workshop in part of the 
house he occupied, and conceived the idea of making rakes, half- 
bushel and peck measures; and in this venture depended upon 
the possibility of soliciting a trade for such articles among the 
farmers and tradespeople of the surrounding country. There 
lived in the community a Pennsylvania Dutchman named George 
Peebles, who kept a hostelry known as the Yellow Wagon Tavern, 
situated between Wilkinsburg and the little village of East Lib 
erty. He also owned a large farm with a fine lot of timber land 
remote from the house, and on Sundays when everything was 
quiet and resting, Goram would take the boys to these woods and 
command them to cut saplings and timber, which they would be 
required to carry half a mile over cross lots to their home. This 
material was made up into the articles intended for peddling, 
and as soon as there was a sufficient supply to meet the supposed 
demand, Dan was initiated to the degree of head salesman, and 
was sent out to solicit trade and dispose of the wares. It was 
natural for him to appeal to those with whom he had come in 
contact since locating in Wilkinsburg, so the first place he called 
at as a peddler was the Peebles Tavern, where he knew he was 
a favorite, for during the long winter evenings he had frequently 
entertained the family and habitues of the tavern with character 
istic negro songs, dances, etc., and he felt sure of securing their 



KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN BICE 33 

custom in disposing of his goods. And in this enterprise he was 
not mistaken, for Mr. Peebles bought liberally, and addressing 
his wife in broken German, said, " Old voman, das ish der best 
of timber/ alluding to the material of which the rakes and meas 
ures were made, and, turning to Dan, asked who made them. 
He replied that it was Mr. Goram, the owner of the horse, and 
when asked where he obtained the wood, Peebles received the as 
tounding declaration that it came from his own farm. Instead of 
showing any displeasure and becoming indignant at this disclos 
ure, which had been made by the boy in all innocence, the good- 
natured German laughed heartily as he exclaimed to his wife, 
" Old voman, das ish der best joke vas I haf efer seen," and after 
paying Dan for his purchase, he dismissed him with a message 
to Goram to come and see him. 

Whatever transpired between Mr. Peebles and Goram at the 
interview, was never, of course, disclosed, but results proved that 
Mr. Goram was forced to employ his inventive genius in other 
directions, and without the staple article appropriated from the 
Peebles farm. Besides the above short-lived manufacturing en 
terprise, Goram made contracts for training horses, and soon had 
quite a stud, which business was, without doubt, the most profit 
able to him pecuniarily and otherwise. It was the task of the 
two boys to exercise and care for the horses, and they were in the 
habit of procuring the straw needed for their bedding from the 
Peebles farm, but it was done in strict accordance with the knowl 
edge of the farmer, for the boys were obliged to thresh the grain 
by the old method of stamping it with the horses. His com 
panion exhibited a prominent dislike for the labor and proved to 
be a slothful lad, and Dan, in open good nature, reproached him 
with leaving to himself the heavier part of the task. These re 
proaches Barney resented in earnest, and the result was a boy 
fight, in which the crude pugilistic powers of each youthful com 
batant were brought to play in a furious onset, in which, although 
Dan was the younger, Barney was brought to terms by the blows 
of his antagonist, and being of a sulky, unforgiving disposition, 
he declared his intention of leaving Mr. Goram unless Dan was 
discharged. But Mr. Goram not being interested in their per 
sonal controversies, showed a decided preference for Dan, which 
so exasperated Barney beyond his endurance, that he made good 
his threat and left the trainer s employ. He never forgot his 
defeat and ever cherished his malice for future developments, 
should he ever meet the victor of his spoils, and it subsequently 
occurred that such was the feeling when Dan and he met at the 
races at Charlestown, Kanawha County, Va. Capt. Tom Friend 
was the owner of the horse, Nick Biddle, against which Dusty 
Foot w T as entered in a two-mile race, and this gentleman s horse 
3 



34 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

had Dan s old antagonist, Barney, for the rider. Mr. Goram 
told Barney, to whom he was indebted, that the only hope of his 
ever being paid was to let Dusty Foot win the race, and this 
scheme was willingly agreed to by Barney, who had long waited 
for Goram to cancel the indebtedness, so it was mutually ar 
ranged that Barney should make Captain Friend s horse bolt from 
the track if there was any possibility of outfooting Dusty Foot. 
But in consequence of the animosity he still cherished against 
Dan he disobeyed the instructions and won the race. The last 
day the horses were again entered in a four-mile race and repeat. 
This was to be a square race, and Dan, who well knew his horse 
had the bottom, as it is given in horse parlance, was determined, 
if possible, to win, for Barney had indulged in considerable boast 
ing after winning the previous race, and apparently felt that his 
chances for " getting even " were all but realized. The excite 
ment of this race was exceedingly great, and high enthusiasm 
prevailed, for the first heat was close, but at the last turn Dusty 
Foot led and came in a winner by two lengths. Barney was ex 
asperated and complained to the judges that Dan had cheated in 
the race, for as they turned into the homestretch, Dan had 
spurred his horse in the shoulder, but it was evident to the judges 
that Barney had done the spurring himself, for like all Western 
riders of that day, in riding toe up, and without any brace in the 
stirrup, his heel had moved forward and the spurring was the 
inevitable result. So amid great enthusiasm the heat was given 
to Dusty Foot, which so enraged Barney that he unwisely insulted 
Dan, who replied with a direct blow upon Barney s nose which 
caused some of his angry blood to flow. The contest was abruptly 
brought to a close, but not before it was evident that Barney was 
holding second place, as usual, and as soon as the young com 
batants were quieted they prepared for the second heat. Feeling 
sure that his horse had the staying power, Dan grew ambitious, 
and was determined to inflict upon Nick Biddle and his rider a 
Waterloo defeat, and he accomplished his object by .pushing the 
race from the start, and at the close shut out his rival completely. 
Intense excitement prevailed and our young rider was the hero of 
the hour. From Charlestown the boy was taken to Lexington, 
Ky., and as his Long Island reputation in a racing capacity had 
preceded him in the West, his services were, therefore, in great 
demand. He also rode for both Harper and Alexander while 
there and brushed the turf at Crab Orchard, having first obtained 
the permission of Goram, with whom he was under contract. In 
following up these advantages he derived much information from 
his experiences in the racing world, and keeping always in view 
that one idea of securing a different position when he grew older, 
he still retained all the cheerfulness of his happy nature and con- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 35 

tinued to struggle on to where the star of his destiny led him. 
He went with Mr. Goram to Pekin, 0., where he was again suc 
cessful with Dusty Foot. A four-mile race was also run at Pekin, 
and to compete in it, George Sealy, a capital fellow, came over 
from Steubenville, 0., to ride Mr. John Hanson s horse, Bull-of- 
the- Woods. George won the first heat from Dan by spurring 
Dusty Foot in the shoulder and thus sheering him off in the last 
turn. This injustice aroused the indignation of Dan, who rode 
up to the judges and complained of George, who answered the 
charge in race-rider fashion by the vehement exclamation, 
" You re a liar! " He was a heavier and an older boy than Dan, 
but such epithets could be followed by but one result, which was 
demonstrated in quicker time than young Sealy had expected, 
for the words were scarcely uttered before Dan had left his im 
pression so strong upon his young opponent that he needed no 
other reminder . than the repeated volleys of blows that were 
rapidly implanted upon his personality by the sturdy fists of little 
Dan Rice, which quickly brought him to terms. The judges 
ruled him off the course, and Dan won the other heats, and the 
race, of course, was placed to his credit. George Sealy, until re 
cently, kept a stable in Baltimore, and he and Mr. Rice became 
very good friends in after years. The great good nature of Mr. 
Rice is proverbial, and it was never possible for him, in his youth 
ful days, to hold malice or entertain the slightest degree of ani 
mosity for any length of time, and he invariably showed a spirit 
of inclination to settle all difficulties on short notice with his 
young foes, as numerous ones have readily testified in later years. 
With the winning of this notable race ended also his engagement 
with Goram, and Dan bade his old companion, Dusty Foot, a last 
farewell. They had shared the honors of the turf together, and 
Dan s love for the equestrian art had been perfected in a great 
degree by the fine control he had gained over the spirited nature 
of Dusty Foot, whose intelligent instinct so obediently complied 
with the artistic manoeuvres of the equally spirited boy in the 
saddle; thus the mutual attachment ended, Dusty Foot to pass 
into the care of another rider and young Dan Rice to seek a 
higher position in his vocation. With his reputation as a rider 
still increasing with the better class of turfmen, he next formed 
an engagement with Dr. McDowell and Dr. Addison, of Pitts- 
burg, to exercise their horses and to winter them under his own 
regime until the following spring, but he soon found that the 
racing qualities they possessed would never make them successes 
in the racing world, so he pronounced them failures, as they ulti 
mately proved to be. From there he next formed an engagement 
at the Shakespeare Gardens, owned by James Wilson, a sporting 
man of East Liberty, near Pittsburg, who was also half owner of 



36 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

the thoroughbred racer Aroostook, in conjunction with Tom Wal 
lace, another sporting character. Mr. Wallace, who was passion 
ately fond of the races, was exceedingly wealthy, and Mr. Eice 
has often since declared that Wallace was the only member of the 
fraternity that he had ever known to die possessed of ample 
means. Dan was selected to attend Aroostook to the races at 
Wheeling, in West Virginia, on the occasion of the opening of the 
new track on Nimrod Farm, built by Y. N. Oliver, of Culpeper 
Courthouse, Va. Upon the auspicious two-mile day, after a 
closely contested race, he won a broken heat, and on the next day 
he rode a four-mile heat for Eichard E. Johnson, which he also 
won. 

In those sporting days of the olden time, when a man s honor 
rested on the words he spoke and not on the legal transactions of 
trickery, Mr. Johnson was one of the most prominent members 
and interested patrons of the turf. He was a Virginian by birth 
and belonged to the old school, and was as generous and whole- 
souled a gentleman as ever placed foot in the stirrup or measured 
the range of a racer s speed, but alas, for the vicissitudes of life, 
and of turfmen of that period in particular, some years later, in 
1850, when Mr. Johnson was drifting on the stream of adversity, 
in New Orleans, Mr. Eice, with a few old friends, assisted in con 
tributing to the support of this waif of the old-time chivalry. 
After the engagement closed at Wheeling, Dan went with Aroos 
took to Louisville, Ky., where he was entered for the four-mile 
race over the Oakland course, but Hugh Gallagher, the trainer, 
advised the withdrawal of the horse, as he showed symptoms 
of lampas and refused to take his food, but those interested in 
the racing persisted in entering him for the trial, and Dan, 
who was especially gifted with foresight in such instances, 
apprehending the outcome of the result, advocated the train 
er s advice and refused to ride. The feeling this refusal 
engendered caused a breach of engagement, which was forth 
with annulled, and another boy, Warren Peabody, was pro 
cured as rider. There were four entries on this occasion Leg 
Treasurer, owned by Jim Bell, of Nashville, Tenn.; Wagner, 
owned by Campbell Bros., of Baltimore; Blacknose, owned by 
Colonel Shy, of Kentucky, and Aroostook. On this exciting oc 
casion, Dan was selected by Col. Jim Shy, of Lexington, to ride 
his horse Blacknose, which position he accepted and won the 
race, Aroostook being distanced, as was foreseen by both Dan and 
the trainer, so also was the four-mile horse Wagner that had 
eclipsed the great Kentucky favorite, Gray Eagle. After the 
ending of this series of repeated successes, our young rider had 
an inclination to leave the turf, as his mind craved the advantages 
that might lead him eventually into different channels in which 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 37 

his talents could be improved for better openings, so he returned 
to Pittsburg, his adopted home,, and had given to him the care of 
Robert Massingham s stables at the corner of Front and Ferry 
Streets in that city. But he was not destined to remain here for 
any length of time, for his reputation as a rider secured for him 
the position of trainer. He was, therefore, engaged by Mr. Gar 
rison Jones to put his horses in training for the races at the 
Mound Eacecourse (the track at the Ximrod Farm having gone 
into disuse); and he was especially engaged to ride " Pandora," 
a four-mile mare, and " Polly Piper," a mile-heat animal, or 
the best three in five, which he did in three straight heats. These 
horses were the personal property of a man named Victor, a 
blacksmith who lived in Wheeling. He was herculean in stature, 
as well as in strength, for he stood nearly seven feet in height and 
was a proverbial tobacco-chewer, having his tobacco put up for 
his special use by a man named Stogy, the inventor of a peculiar 
form of cigar called the " Wheeling Stogy." Mr. Victor was in 
the habit of chewing a pound of tobacco a day, which proved 
quite an item of interest to the unfortunate, crippled manufac 
turer, who reminded one of Uriah Heep, that peculiar freak of 
Charles Dickens genius. 

At the conclusion of the race the excitement was very great, 
especially among the Wheeling people, and Mr. Victor was so 
enthusiastic that he set Dan astride his shoulders and paraded 
him before the grand stand, where the people threw down 
money to the boy who brought the Wheeling horse in a 
winner. 

From thence he went to Marietta, 0., where he placed under 
training Rat Catcher, belonging to Nat Bishop, a blacksmith; 
Kosciusko, owned by Warren Wilcox, a merchant; and Osceola, 
the property of Robert Johnson, a harness maker. He was lo 
cated four miles below Marietta, upon the Humphry Farm, owned 
and occupied by Mr. George Reppert, a Pennsylvania Dutchman, 
who evinced a decided interest in Dan and made him a guest in his 
own home. It was while there that he himself organized a Jockey 
Club, and established a mile track, which won considerable prom 
inence, and during the summer of that year he caused to be con 
structed a judges and a grand stand, and in the meantime matured 
and trained horses for the Fall races, and was also generally em 
ployed in training horses for persons living in the surrounding 
country. The enterprise being quite a new undertaking in that 
vicinity, created much excitement among the inhabitants, and 
the Fall meeting was registered to open in October, after the 
harvest season was over. Fortune seemed also to favor the young 
lad in a monetary way, for he won every purse through his su 
perior knowledge of horsemanship. His successful venture then 



38 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

led him to Parkersburg, Va., to which place he repaired, taking 
with him Osceola and a four-year-old roan colt, which he stabled 
with a farmer, Mr. Paul Cook, near the racecourse. 

Something in the boy s nature acted like magic on the sensi 
bilities of those with whom he came in contact, for he had the 
happy faculty of meeting with people who, though representing 
every strata of society, never failed to treat him in the kindliest 
manner possible. There was ever an air of mystery about the 
lad, who carefully guarded the knowledge of his ancestral identity 
from the curious, and never to his most interested patrons on the 
turf did he become confidential to that degree to give them his 
family name. Some innate individuality apparently forbade 
connecting that sacred tie to the vocation he followed, and many 
worthy patrons respected the sealed secret of his life on the race 
course, and called him merely Dan-the-race-rider, or invented 
some nom-de-plume that suited the occasion. Thus the happy 
boy met his hosts of friends on equal footing. It was at Parkers- 
burg that Dan became acquainted with three fine gentlemen who 
were prominent throughout the State, and these well-known men 
were Mr. Mote Holliday, General Maybury, and General Jack 
son, all of w r hom were enthusiastic lovers of the turf. So devoted 
was General Maybury to the sports of the course that he never 
failed to give the racing his full attention when the season was in 
progress, and it was at the races he died many years after, at the 
advanced age of eighty, while sitting in his carriage and witness 
ing the performance of a specially interesting contest. These 
gentlemen were all thoroughbred Virginians of the old school, 
and General Jackson was an earnest Presbyterian church digni 
tary and the soul of honor, as indeed they all were, including Mr. 
Cook, who was famous for his superior hospitality. At the con 
clusion of the exciting experiences that followed in the course of 
events at the Fall meeting in Parkersburg, Dan returned to the 
Reppert Farm near Marietta, where he spent an enjoyable winter 
after delivering the horses to their respective destinations and bal 
ancing the accounts of the season. Life at the farm was one con 
tinual round of enjoyment peculiar to the inhabitants of that 
locality in those early, hospitable times, when a man s character 
was measured by the traits he exhibited and not by the length of 
the purse he carried. Ample means are always essential bless 
ings, buHt did not, at that time, follow that they were absolutely 
necessary in order to contract friendships on an equal basis, so 
young Dan Rice was welcomed among these superior people for 
the real true worth that beamed in his great good nature. A 
young grandson of Mr. Reppert s made his home at the farm, 
and, although an older lad, a strong friendship was formed be 
tween the two boys, who were brimful to overflowing with fun and 







Situated on St. Charles street 

Between Poydras st- & Commercial Place, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 39 

frolic, and it was a difficult task to undertake to draw the line 
of comparison between these mischievous youngsters, who often 
brought good Grandmother Reppert to her wit s end to parry their 
assaults in the household. The grandson, George Barclay, was 
a fearless fox hunter, and in initiating our young hero into the 
mysteries of the hunt, it is a well-known joke handed down to the 
later generations that Dan Rice was so profoundly engrossed with 
bringing out the speed of the horse he rode that he entirely forgot 
the game young Barclay was routing, and, through force of habit, 
made a wild dash for the supposed homestretch, which drove 
frisky Reynard to safe cover. Young Barclay afterwards located 
in California, where he became well known in the seafaring world 
as Capt. George Barclay, and was the first seaman to navigate 
a steamboat from San Francisco to Sacramento. The Reppert 
family was notably a large one, and its connections being exten 
sive, the kinsmen are now scattered in various walks of life, be 
coming prominent in many instances and preserving the integrity 
of the family name by the same honest principles that have been 
bequeathed by an untarnished ancestry. It was under the in 
fluence of such worthy people that Mr. Rice spent a few nappy 
months, the memories of which have lingered through a long, 
busy career. At that time his boy life was just verging on the 
threshold of early manhood, and the careful counsel of Grand 
father Reppert was good seed sown in his young heart, that has 
ripened in his matured years, long after the good old gentleman 
has passed to a condition that lives only in memory. The ster 
ling reputation of Mr. Reppert gained him many friends of solid 
worth and character, and he was also identified as a partner 
of the distinguished statesman, Albert Gallatin, in establishing 
the first glassworks west of the Alleghany Mountains, on the 
Monongahela River. 

One anecdote of Mr. Rice s life at the Reppert Farm is worth 
preserving, for it carries us back to the regime of olden time, and 
also demonstrates some of the mischievous propensities reigning 
uppermost in the happy nature of Dan Rice. It happened on the 
occasion of Miss Annie Reppert s marriage to her cousin Jacob, of 
the same family name. There was a large assemblage of the elite 
of Marietta, and the company also included representatives from 
the families of the surrounding country farmers. Mother Rep 
pert s skill as a housewife was actively put to the test, and on 
the gala day in question the great table in the dining-room of 
the rambling old farmhouse fairly groaned with its weight of 
choice viands, prepared by loving hands to grace the auspicious 
occasion, and many of the old German dishes were compounded 
from recipes brought from the Fatherland, and had been handed 
down through the previous generations. The festivities were a 



40 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

source of great merriment to the younger members of the family, 
and perhaps no two of them enjoyed it more hugely than did 
young George Barclay and Dan Rice, for they brought all their 
mischief into full play, reserving the climax until the marriage 
ceremony was ended. While the newly wedded pair were receiv 
ing the congratulations, the piercing cry of " Murder " was 
heard coming from the front porch, and the entire company 
rushed in undignified confusion to the scene of the tragedy, to 
behold a poor victim with face and hands streaming with gore 
and the features gruesomely distorted out of all semblance of his 
former self. The wedding festivities were totally forgotten by 
this unfortunate disaster, and all thoughts were turned to the 
victim. Investigation was made in great haste to learn the ex 
tent of the injuries he had received, when the applications re 
vealed the fact that mischievous Dan Rice was covered with the 
juicy contents of a huge cherry pie which young Barclay had 
thrown at him designedly to create the sensation. The plot was 
betrayed by the smiling look of unconcern with which each 
youngster greeted the vast assemblage of invited gusts, who were 
truly grateful that it was only a "cherry-pie tragedy." And 
dear old Mother Reppert was forced to emphasize in her broken 
German, " Oh, mein Gott, mein Gott, Dan, you be such a teufel! " 



CHAPTER VI. 

YOUNG RICE S FIRST MEETING WITH THE DISTINGUISHED HENRY 
CLAY THE WRECK OF THE " MOSELLE " EXPLOSION OF THE 
BOILER ON THE STEAMBOAT ON WHICH RICE AND HIS RACE 
HORSE WERE PASSENGERS THEIR MIRACULOUS ESCAPE 
YOUNG RICE AS A POSTAL OFFICER. BUNCH O^BONES 
ABRAHAM LINCOLN JUDGE IN A QUARTER RACE WHY 
YOUNG RICE WITHDREW FROM THE TURF. 

WHILE the party were at Pittsburg the previous winter, Mr. 
William Hughes, a celebrated sporting character of that 
day, having heard of Dan s superior skill with the racers of the 
turf, formed a contract with Mr. Goram for the lad s services 
to ride his four-mile horse, "John Clifton," at the Louisville 
races. Accordingly at the opening of the season the boy started 
with the horse from Moundville, taking passage at that place in 
a light-draft stern-wheel boat, with two barges in tow, loaded with 
emigrants. The water being low, the steamer necessarily ran 
very slow, and there was plenty of time to devote to amusement. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Among the passengers on the boat was the distinguished Senator, 
Henry Clay, who was on his way to his home in Lexington, Ky. 
Mr. Clay, with his genial good nature, indulged in the pastimes 
of the voyage, and on one occasion he walked down to the deck 
of one of the barges where some of the people were dancing. He 
was accompanied by Dan, whose acquaintance he had formed by 
noticing the lad who had in his charge the racer, and together 
they watched the performances of the emigrants. "Can you dance, 
Dan? " asked the Senator of the young rider. " Not those Ger 
man dances, sir," he replied, " but I can do a jig or reel." " Well, 
then," said Mr. Clay, " let me see if I can t play something for 
you," and suiting the action to the word, he borrowed a violin and 
played the air " Money Musk," which was at that time very popu 
lar, to which Dan danced an encore. He has since said, that 
of all the tunes to which he ever danced, that one of " Money 
Musk " seemed to him the longest. Arriving at Cincinnati, Mr. 
Hughes met Dan at the levee, and transferred him and the horse 
to the steamboat " Moselle," plying between Cincinnati, Louisville, 
and St. Louis. She was nearly new and was regarded by many as 
the fastest boat upon the river. Dan took his horse, John Clif 
ton, aboard and located him on the extreme stern of the boat on 
the larboard guard. This was upon April 26, 1838, a day mem 
orable for years afterwards to the people of Cincinnati. The 
captain, whose name was Perkins, after taking freight and pas 
sengers at the Cincinnati wharf, steamed up the river a mile and 
a half to the village of Fulton for a family that had engaged pas 
sage. Another Louisville boat had started ahead, and while 
waiting for his Fulton passengers to embark he tied the "Moselle" 
to a lumber raft, still keeping up a head of steam. This was a 
dangerous proceeding, as the Evans safety guard to prevent the 
explosion of steam boilers had not yet been introduced, but he 
was anxious in passing the city to exhibit the speed of his boat 
as well as to pass his rival and reach Louisville first. After the Ful 
ton part went on board, the " Moselle " cast off and commenced 
her journey. At that moment a man who had seen the steam 
gauge, rushed through the engine room to the stern of the boat 
shouting loudly, " By G d, this boat is going to blow up! " and 
then sprang into the river on the shore side. Dan, with his im 
pulsive nature, at once became excited, and, unfastening the 
horse, succeeded in forcing him overboard, and quick as thought 
sprang in after him. There were several panic-stricken passen 
gers on deck, who, having heard the man s wild shout of alarm, 
also did likewise, but Dan had scarcely time to mount the horse 
before the boiler burst and there was an explosion which rever 
berated like a clap of thunder from the surrounding hills. It 
was a wild and terrible scene and indescribable in its dire results, 



42 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

but Dan managed to preserve his presence of mind and directed 
the horse towards the Kentucky shore opposite, avoiding as best 
he could the flying fragments around and about him, while the 
heart-rending cries of the perishing passengers and crew smote 
painfully on his ear. Still the boy persevered in guiding the 
racer in this struggle for life, and, by almost a miracle, he and 
the horse made the shore in safety, landing in Covington, which 
was at that time merely a village. After the explosion, what re 
mained of the "Moselle" drifted a short distance down the stream 
and sank, and the placid waters of the Ohio held in her bosom 
the secret of the terrible tragedy. With the exception of the 
few passengers who were in the ladies cabin and those who, like 
Dan, had taken to the water prior to the explosion, all were killed 
outright or so fearfully scalded that they died shortly afterward. 
The exact number has never been ascertained, but it was esti 
mated that at least two hundred were victims to the captain s 
criminal and insane ambition to outrace any boat upon the river. 
After experiencing these harrowing events, Dan remained with 
the horse that night at Covington, and started for Louisville by 
land the next morning. It was impossible for him to communicate 
with Hughes, the owner of the horse, and that individual know 
ing of the accident, supposed that both the boy and horse had 
perished in the general calamity. Nor did he suspect otherwise 
until a few days afterwards when he went to Louisville, he dis 
covered our indomitable hero exercising the horse upon the Oak 
land course. To say that Hughes was astonished expresses the 
situation but mildly; he was as much amazed as if he had wit 
nessed the resurrection of horse and rider from the tomb. Mr. 
Rice has since remarked in his quaint way that he never was 
quite certain as to which of the two Mr. Hughes was most pleased 
to behold, himself or the thoroughbred; but he gave Mr. Hughes 
the benefit of the doubt out of charity, for he proclaimed young 
Rice s presence of mind and successful effort in the rescue of the 
horse throughout the sporting circle of Louisville, until our hero 
became indeed the hero of the hour. It is to be regretted that 
the horse was not destined to win the race after passing through 
such trying difficulties, for it would have been a triumphant 
climax to the fame of the boy who rode him. But in forcing him 
over the side of the boat into the river and in swimming the Ohio, 
the animal had been strained, and at the time of the race had not 
sufficiently recovered from the ordeal to win out. But it was 
admitted that it was not through Dan s mismanagement that the 
unfortunate results followed. 

At the conclusion of the race that proved so unsatisfactory on 
account of the accident to the racer, young Rice made prepara 
tions to return to Mr. Goram at Charleston and conclude the pro- 



KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN KICE 43 

gram at that place, but decided to stop at Marietta on his return 
journey and visit his old friends at the Eeppert farm. He had 
been there but a short time when he received word to come 
directly to Moundville, as Colonel Jones, his guardian, was very 
ill and supposed to be dying. He made haste to obey the sum 
mons, but as the steamboat was delayed on account of low water, 
he arrived only in time to attend the funeral of the kind-hearted 
man who had proved such a true friend to the young boy under 
his charge. After a few days Mrs. Jones informed Dan that her 
husband had, before his illness, formed an engagement for him 
with Capt. Tom Moore, of Wheeling, to ride in St. Louis, at the 
Fall meeting, that gentleman s four-mile mare, " Karina." He, 
therefore, prepared himself and accompanied Captain Moore with 
the animal to St. Louis, but the race was not successful, as the 
mare broke down in her forelegs in the second heat, after winning 
the first. However, Dan received one hundred dollars for his 
services according to contract, which, in a measure, proved some 
compensation to the ambitious lad, who earnestly sought to give 
satisfaction in every instance that followed in his vocation. 

At the close of the racing season, Mr. Stickney^ one of the post- 
office officials at St. Louis, who was afterwards a well-known 
landlord of the Planters House, engaged young Eice for a special 
mission, which consisted of taking the official papers and riding 
cross country to the mouth of the Illinois River and establish 
ing post-offices as directed by the government on the way. In 
those days every one ran quarter horses all in the western coun 
try, a sport that seemed to be the prevailing pastime for several 
decades. At these races young Eice, who was passionately fond of 
athletics, became an active student of gymnastic exercises, in the 
science of which he became very expert and displayed superior 
skill, employing the same untiring energy that had ever marked 
his career upon the turf. He was at this period only seventeen 
years of age, but was always prepared to banter the field in a foot 
race, wrestling match, jumping, or throwing the sledge, and so 
well were his powers known, that seldom was there found a con 
testant hardy enough to accept the challenge, or if accepted, vig 
orous enough to escape defeat. He accepted a match with Dick 
Bradt, the celebrated western footracer, at the little hamlet of 
Bethel, near Springfield, 111., in which he exhibited the same 
spirit that characterized every sport in which he -participated. 
In the course of these foot races, in connection with John Ethel, 
who afterward became a lead miner at Galena, young Eice as 
sumed control of "Bunch O Bones," a quarter-horse that had 
never been beaten. Bunch O Bones had become comparatively 
unprofitable, as he was invariably " expected " in all the quarter- 
mile races. Young Eice, being always possessed of the one am- 



44 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

bition to rise to a different condition, applied himself to get the 
horse in order with a view to enlarge his sphere of action in a 
trip through Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia. 

An amateur of the turf called Tom Whiton, a well-known Ohio 
Eiver pilot, of Marietta, was also connected with the fraternity 
when not following his legitimate vocation. Having, in com 
mon with the great sporting gentry, heard often of Bunch 
O Bones, and knowing so profound was his owner s confidence in 
him, that a horse that could beat him would " win his pile," pro 
cured " Hotspur," a quarter-horse in Virginia who he was willing 
to put against the combined forces of racers. His previous suc 
cesses induced Mr. Whiton to bring his stable to St. Louis to at 
tend the Fall races there, and feeling fortified to meet young Eice 
in his venture, he then proceeded to Bethel, where a match was 
soon arranged between Hotspur and Bunch O Bones. 

Quite an excitement was created in the country around, and 
Whiton laughed at the sly hints of sympathy, that he, a com 
parative amateur in the business, should risk a match with Bunch 
O Bones, notoriously the fastest horse in the State, and con 
gratulated himself that Dan did not suspect that Hotspur was 
an assumed name covering a steed that had won so many hardly- 
contested laurels. Young Eice felt some misgivings in regard to 
the coming race, although the match was only for fifty dollars a 
side, and either party would have sacrificed the whole amount of 
the purse to have known to a certainty which horse would win, 
and both young men probably resolved in their minds how this 
information could be obtained without the knowledge of the 
other. Three days before the race, Dan was greatly surprised 
that Whiton, with whom he had a trivial misunderstanding the 
year before at Wheeling, was now unusually courteous and urgent 
in his invitations to a chat and a social glass at Case s Tavern, 
but his surprise was changed to suspicion when he overheard a 
groom whisper to Whiton, " At this rate you ll never get Eice 
drunk enough to open the stable." 

Then it was that he understood their object. Their pretended 
friendship was a conspiracy to get Bunch O Bones out of the 
stable to run a trial race. The suspicious remark which he ac- 
cidently overheard caused young Eice to change his methods and 
feign to be gradually overcome by deep potations, and finally to 
lose all control over himself. He successfully managed his part 
in the play and soon appeared so nearly overcome with sleep as 
to require to be shaken vigorously. Another glass of the bever 
age was mixed, and shortly after the owner of Hotspur and the 
groom kindly assisted him to his room and put him to bed to 
sleep off the effects of dissipation. No sooner, however, did Dan 
hear their retreating footsteps, than he quickly arose, prepared 



BEMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 45 

himself, and,, running swiftly to the rear of the barn, he effected 
an entrance to the back of the stable, and changed Bunch O Bones 
from the front stall to the back stall, putting in Bunch O Bones 7 
place another quarter-horse, Gamut, owned by a friend who ac 
companied him on the journey speculatively, which horse re 
sembled Bunch O Bones so closely that any one who had seen the 
latter only twice, as Hotspur s owner had, would not be likely to 
detect the change, especially at night. This change being made, 
he secreted himself in the hay-mow overhead, first making a pas 
sageway through which he could see into the stable below. 
Young Eice had only time enough to accomplish this change of 
horses and prepare his place to watch the proceedings, for almost 
as soon as this was effected, he heard the staple forced out of the 
locked door and Whiton and the groom entered stealthily. It 
was the work of a moment to take out Gamut and proceed to a 
level lane, where they were followed by Dan, who, by scaling the 
garden fence in the rear and keeping the shadows, arrived unseen 
on the field of action as soon as they. Hotspur soon followed 
Gamut in the hands of the groom and Dan had the great satis 
faction of seeing Hotspur, after a hardly-fought trial of speed, 
come out ahead of Gamut about one length, which Hotspur s rider 
declared could be increased a length more on the day of the race. 
Contented with what he had learned, Dan returned to the stable 
and soon found an opportunity to exchange the horses to their 
respective stalls, after which he hastened to his room without 
being detected, greatly relieved in mind and with a fund of spirits 
the next morning that failed to conceal an affectation of head 
ache and drowsiness. He was satisfied that Bunch O Bones could 
beat Gamut three lengths easily, and, of course, was good for two 
with Hotspur. From that time on each side was confident, and 
Dan took every bet that was offered, advising his friends that he 
had the " deadwood " on it. Each party was in such good humor 
with himself on the day of the race that no trouble was had about 
preliminaries. Dan rode Bunch O Bones and the same rider that 
rode him on the night escapade mounted Hotspur. Both started 
off in the finest style of action, but to the unspeakable mortifica 
tion of Hotspur s owner and the consternation of his rider, Bunch 
O Bones slowly but surely forged to the front, coming in first 
just by a nose as was decided by the judge amid the hoots and 
jeers of the natives. But all opposition to his decision was soon 
quelled by the judge himself, whose standing in the community 
was very high, and furthermore the judge had gone so far as to 
wager a dollar or two himself on Hotspur, who was the neighbor 
hood s favorite. 

Now comes one of the most extraordinary incidents in the 
story. This judge was a gawky young Illinois lawyer named 



46 [REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Abraham Lincoln, who held all the bets made on the race, and 
handed them over to the winners. He had stopped overnight at 
Bethel on his circuit from Springfield to Jacksonville, 111., and 
had been selected to act as stakeholder. His fellow-citizens were 
quite indignant at his decision in Rice s favor, for they had lost 
every bet, and their exchequers were exhausted. But when he was 
President, Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Rice enjoyed many hearty laughs 
over Bunch O Bones victory. 

Having successfully fulfilled his mission with Mr. Stickney, 
young Rice returned to St. Louis, and after having sold the horse 
to Bob O Blennis, a well-known character of that city, for a large 
sum, he gave up his projected tour to the South, and finally re 
tired from the turf to follow inclinations that eventually led him 
into a different calling. 



CHAPTER VII. 

MR. RICE S DEBUT ON THE STAGE HE MEETS THE ORIGINAL 
FAKIR OF AVA HIS ROLE AS DEMON OF THE FIERY 
FOREST WINNING A STEAMBOAT FROM ITS CAPTAIN 
HIGH WAGES WHILE A COACHMAN AT THE ALLEGHANY 
ARSENAL A NARROW ESCAPE IN ASSUMING THE RdLE OF 
GHOST DANCES THE CAMPTOWN HORNPIPE AT THE NICH- 
OLLS CIRCUS IN PITTSBURG YOUNG RICE S FIRST MEET 
ING WITH SECRETARIES RUSK AND WINDOM IN EARLY 
DAYS. 

ON young Dan Rice s retirement from the turf in the autumn 
of 1839, and on his return to St. Louis in December, fate 
had prepared for him a dramatic debut of which he was not slow 
to take advantage. He had reported to Mr. Stickney the result 
of his post-office mission, and while cogitating on the advisability 
of returning to Pittsburg, he visited several places of amusement, 
one of which was the St. Louis Museum on Market Street, where 
he was recognized by several amateur actors. Among the num 
ber was Mr. J. H. McVicker, who eventually became the father- 
in-law of the renowned actor, Edwin Booth. This gentleman 
cordially greeted Mr. Rice and introduced him to Professor 
Marshall, the manager of the museum, who kindly asked him to 
remain and attend the performance. After the play was over, 
Mr. Rice invited a number of his friends, among whom was Mr. 
McVicker, with whom he had previously become acquainted with 
at the races, to lunch with him, which invitation they accepted. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 47 

While they enjoyed themselves in the hearty good-fellowship 
that usually attends such occasions, Mr. McVicker asked Mr. 
Rice to dance at his benefit in negro character " The Camptowri 
Hornpipe/ a very popular dance in those days. This he agreed 
to do and the benefit took place a few evenings afterwards. Thus 
young Rice was brought to the public notice in a new guise and 
entirely different kind of business, and he made a good hit, for 
he was encored several times. When Professor Marshall, the 
" Fakir of Ava," saw the natural ability of the young man, he 
asked him to take a small role in a new production about to be 
brought out at the museum. 

" The Sleeping Beauty, or the Demon of the Fiery Forest/ 
was to be introduced by Marshall, with a close attention to thrill 
ing detail, and Mr. Rice was cast to play the demon, a part more 
conspicuous in name than in reality. Mr. McVicker was cast for 
the leading role, that of the virtuous young hero whose aim it 
was to rescue the Sleeping Beauty from the machinations of the 
demon. Mr. McVicker was at that time pursuing the business 
of cabinet-maker, with a strong leaning toward the theatrical, and 
which eventually became his calling in life, as is well known in 
the theatrical world. The manager on this particular occasion 
had not been sparing of scenic effects, and when the audience saw 
the great snakes, hideous dragons, and monsters of form and ges 
ture, hitherto undreamed of, peering from the foliage and among 
the trees and insinuating their writhing folds across the Fiery 
Forest, there was a distinct sensation. Young Rice, although 
dressed in the full garb of a demon, proved to be the most pro 
foundly scared mortal in the house. It appears that he had not 
indulged in the pleasure of these adjuncts at rehearsals, therefore, 
as the curtain rose, he was beheld standing in the midst of these 
blazing horrors, exceedingly fierce in aspect, but oh, so faint at 
heart at sight of these goblins doomed, that he suddenly ran off 
the stage with his tail between his legs, and stood cowering in the 
wings. The audience, recognizing Dan Rice and his genuine 
stage fright, roared out its encouragement of security. 

" Get back there and take the centre of the stage! " shouted 
McVicker, striding on in full heroics, prepared to rescue the 
Sleeping Beauty, who was apparently resting on a mossy bank. 
But young Rice had already recovered his presence of mind. An 
noyed at McVicker s brusque language, which had ended with a 
very pronounced aspirate oath that unmistakably proclaimed him 
an idiot, he was not slow to perceive that the cries of the people 
were giving him more than his share of prominence in the play. 
So he responded with pretended reluctance to the shouts of a 
score or more of his friends, and with them, flames and all, de 
liberately took the stage from the enraged McVicker, and the 



48 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

disconsolate, but now wide-awake Beauty, shouldered his Devil s 
tail and " pitched into " the " Camptown Hornpipe." This in 
congruous interlude had a tendency to break up the performance 
that was advertised, the curtain dropped and the audience dis 
persed screaming with laughter. 

It was at this period that gambling was the passion of the day, 
and the Mississippi steamboats have been characterized as veri 
table " floating hells " on the bosom of the " Father of Waters." 
It is to be regretted that this vocation was soon to become more 
than amusement to young Eice, for the hand of fate seemed dis 
posed to add also that experience to the decree of his destiny. 
After leaving St. Louis, where his unfortunate debut as an actor 
ended in such a ludicrous manner, he drifted into a new channel 
where circumstances propelled him, and thought of a life on the 
river as the next step toward elevating himself to a higher stand 
ard. With his peculiar aptitude at cards, he soon developed into 
a professional that had but few, if any, superiors, and in a sur 
prisingly short time he made regular preparations to lay siege to 
the purse of the travelling public. He procured a fireman s out 
fit and shipped on the steamboat Czar, a St. Louis and Pittsburg 
packet, commanded by Capt. Billy Forsythe, a celebrated man on 
the river at that day, though long since gone to his reward, and 
with all his energies he launched into this new undertaking. 
These preparations were to enable young Eice to get a chance to 
play cards with the unfortunate deck passengers, a regular fire 
man meanwhile working below in that capacity in his place. 
With the same exhibitions of success following him that had 
marked his career on the turf, he won furniture, horses, money, 
and, indeed, so much in general of everything that suspicion was 
aroused and he was obliged to disembark at Louisville. There 
he again ventured on the New Argo, Captain Steele commanding, 
to go up the Kentucky Eiver to Frankfort, and while on the boat 
he figured as a watchman. After donning his watchman s garb 
and going on deck, he would solicit patronage and forthwith 
proceeded to win everything in sight, and after playing on the 
New Argo the whole winter, he won the boat itself from the cap 
tain; but with the instinctive principle of justice that ruled him 
in every transaction, he gave her back to Captain Steele when he 
left the service at Frankfort. 

Yearnings for a permanent location seemed to take possession 
of the young man in the various phases of his career, and he was 
naturally inclined to Pittsburg through the force of circum 
stances. His old-time boy friends were there and also many 
prominent persons who had interested themselves in his welfare 
during his racing days. So it was to that city that his heart in 
clined, and he left Frankfort by stage-coach for Pittsburg, by way 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 49 

of Cincinnati. The ruling propensities that governed him dur 
ing the past few months on the river predominated during his 
journey, and he found willing victims to indulge in his favorite 
winning games at cards while en route to Pittsburg. The ex 
traordinary hold the passion for play had, at that time, o-n the 
American people is shown in George W. DevoPs remarkable work, 
" Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi River." It was in 
the spring of 18-iU that young Eice arrived in Pittsburg, where he 
bought a third interest in a livery stable at the corner of Front 
and Ferry Streets, owned by an Englishman named Massingham, 
who has been previously mentioned and with whom Dan had 
formerly associated. In the autumn of that year he disposed of 
his interest in the stable and deposited his money in the bank. 
Roddy Patterson, an acquaintance with whom he had often ex 
changed favors, was a w r ell-known livery-stable keeper in Pitts 
burg. This person knowing that young Rice was embracing 
every opportunity to better his condition, one day informed him 
that Captain Harding, the commander of the Alleghany Arsenal, 
wanted a careful, experienced man to drive his family carriage. 
" And Dan," said Patterson, " why don t you go and take the 
job? " After carefully thinking over the possibilities that might 
occur if he should take the position, he obtained a note of intro 
duction to Captain Harding. He found this gentleman well 
disposed toward him and he was commissioned by the captain 
to go and see Mrs. Harding, whose private apartments were lo 
cated across the plateau in the Arsenal enclosure, and assure her 
as to his capabilities as a driver. The commandant s wife was 
so exceedingly timid that the slightest display of spirit on the 
part of a horse alarmed her almost to the verge of hysterics. Cor 
respondingly great, therefore, was her husband s desire to secure 
a driver with whom not only he, but his wife as well, might feel 
the assurance of safety. In the very beginning, Mrs. Harding 
expressed her belief that Dan was too young and forthwith began 
questioning him as to his past experience. Young Rice, who did 
not lack confidence, replied satisfactorily, until she asked him 
how near the edge of a precipice he could drive without tilting 
over. And to this he replied that he would not try the experi 
ment but would keep as far from it as possible. " You will do," 
the lady exclaimed, and dismissed him with a brief note to her 
husband, who read it with great care, and, after a few prelimi 
naries, began the final agreements as to what salary he expected. 
" Understand," said he, " you will not be expected to attend 
to grooming the horses; all that you will have to do will be to 
mount the seat when the carriage is brought out, and drive, and 
upon your return the groom will take the horses back to the 
stable. Now," said the captain, " what wages will you require? " 



50 BEMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

Dan hesitated a moment, and then replied that he thought 
sixty dollars a month would be a fair compensation. 

" Sixty dollars a month," echoed the captain in a tone of as 
tonishment, " did I hear aright? " 

" You certainly did/ 7 rejoined Dan, " I said sixty dollars a 
month; do you think it too much? " 

" Why, of course I do," replied the captain. 

" Very well," said Dan, " no harm is done, and I wish you, sir, 
a very good-day." 

But as he was preparing to leave, the captain called him back 
and again asked him if he had not made a mistake in his figures 
and if he did not himself think them unreasonably high. 

" Well, sir," replied Dan, " they do appear high, but they 
are not so for the work I propose to perform. Now I will 
make a proposition. Within one month I will engage that the 
lady will be taught to drive the team herself without fear or 
hesitation, and if I fail in this, then I will forfeit a month s 
salary." 

" If you do this," said the captain, " I will not grudge you the 
sixty dollars," and the contract being made, upon the following 
Monday young Eice was duly installed in his new and comfortable 
quarters. 

They were decidedly superior to his apartments in the Massing- 
ham stable, and altogether it was to him a new life. He was 
never treated as a menial, but, except when guests were invited, 
he had his seat at the table as one of the family, and could ho 
have remained contented, his life would have been exceedingly 
pleasant. True to his promise, a month had not elapsed before 
Mrs. Harding not only mounted the seat of the carriage but 
handled the reins and drove the horses in such a fearless way that 
it astonished the garrison. 

The Hardings had four children, three boys and one girl, the 
younger boys, William and Van Buren, being at home, and 
Ebenezer, the elder, at school at Carlisle, Pa. Mischievous, high- 
spirited, fun-loving youngsters they were. Scarcely a night 
would pass but William and Van Buren were found to have stolen 
away from the paternal rooftree. The captain tried at first to 
frighten them into staying home at night by the recital of hair- 
raising and blood-curdling ghost stories, but all to no avail. So, 
one night, he hired young Rice to play ghost, and the result came 
very near ending Dan s life, for William had happened on that 
occasion to sally forth with a shotgun, one commonly supposed 
by his father to be unloaded. Dan, swathed in sheets, stood 
boldly out in the moonlight, holding high over his head a stout 
wooden cross, over which a sheet was draped. On being confronted 
with this awful apparition, Willie calmly fired his fowling-piece 



BEMINISCEXCES OF DAN KICE 51 

and the entire charge passed through the sheets into the cross, 
just above Dan s head. 

This was one of his first spectacular appearances, but the role 
of ghost came very near being his last. 

The Harding family have now, at this date, all passed away 
with the exception of the daughter, who is the wife of Oliver T. 
Barnes, of ^ew York, the prominent civil engineer who was so 
important a factor in the survey of the Pennsylvania Railroad 
lines. She is a noble woman, and Colonel Rice feels that, to the 
refining influence of the happy home in which he knew her family 
fifty years ago in Pittsburg, he owes a debt of lasting gratitude. 
The lesson unconsciously learned at that time had a wonderful 
effect upon his morals, for he had arrived at that impressionable 
age w r hen life is opening new avenues to the understanding and 
creating desires of a more exalted character, and the associations 
of refinement and integrity met the innate ideal of our young 
hero s aspirations, and the result was more redeeming than the 
Hardings ever suspected. The family was highly connected, and 
in this home, where he was more of a friend and companion than 
otherwise, young Rice came in contact with such of the friends 
and kinsmen as the Cowens, Harmon Denny, and the Robinsons, 
all of whom were people of worth and culture. Mingling as he 
did with the Hardings, brought him also in friendly intercourse 
w T ith the officers and subordinates of the garrison, the most of 
whom were intelligent, polished men, and his native spirit 
yearned to meet them on an equal footing. This was an impos 
sibility in the position which he held, and his proud nature felt 
it most keenly, and notwithstanding the kind and considerate 
treatment which he received, he sighed for a more active and ad 
venturous career that would elevate him to the position he craved 
among his fellow-men. But how to leave these worthy people was 
the question. He could form no plausible excuse, ancl then, in his 
ignorance as to the affairs at the Arsenal, he thought that having 
taken a position there, he was in the condition of a soldier, so 
that if he insisted upon going away he might be arrested and 
incarcerated in the Black Hole, the fate of more than one de 
serter, as had already come under his observation. So he pa 
tiently waited for circumstances to shape themselves as to the 
result of his future action. He had now been at the Arsenal 
three months, and had not drawn any of his salary, but this was 
to one of his thoughtless disposition a secondary consideration. 
At last he made up his mind, and, ignoring his three months 
salary, left this pleasant home without announcing his departure, 
and returning to Pittsburg, took refuge in his old apartments 
at the Massingham stable. 

While waiting for a change in the tide of affairs, by which 



52 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

he could command a remuneration worth accepting, he concluded 
to go and visit old friends in Marietta and also spend a brief 
period at the Keppert farm, around which previous associations 
hovered that were dear to his mind and heart. The young man 
was welcomed with hearty cordiality by those warm-hearted 
Germans who extended their hospitality as freely as on other 
occasions, when the racing business called him in their vicinity, 
and he occupied his old place in their midst, while they regaled 
themselves with rehearsing past reminiscences of his fun-loving 
propensities. Young Rice s stay in Marietta, at this time, was 
characterized by a series of adventures that reminded him of 
other days, and eventually was the means of forming new friend 
ships that proved interesting as well as lasting. 

In due time he left his old associates and returned to Pittsburg; 
that offered new attractions for his vivacious nature to indulge 
in and investigate. 

Although young Rice had left the Hardings without receiving 
his salary, he was not without money, for he always had a gener 
ous deposit in the bank, and was, therefore, secured in almost 
any emergency. There was at that time a wooden structure 
erected on what was known as the Broadhurst lot, near the canal 
on Penn Street, that was used by the showman, Sam Nicholls, 
for an amphitheatre. It was now the winter season, and not 
being engaged, young Rice was almost a nightly visitor to the 
circus, for the horsemanship fascinated him, and the acrobatic 
sports appealed to and were a part of his exuberant nature, and 
very naturally, being similarly constituted, he soon became ac 
quainted with the performers. It was, in reality, a star company, 
consisting of Caroline Devine, who afterwards became Mrs. James 
M. Nixon, Mrs. Samuel Nicholls, Mrs. Matt Buckley, Messrs. 
W. W. and Horace Nicholls, Tom McCollum, James M. Nixon, 
Matt Buckley, Monsieur Guillot, the Hercules and strongest man 
of his day; Dave Harlin, a star rider; Hamlin, the contortionist; 
and Herr Kline, the famous tight-rope performer. The clowns 
of the company were George Knapp and John May. Knapp was 
one of the most lugubrious clowns that ever appeared in a motley 
garb, and May afterward acquired some celebrity, but unfortu 
nately, finally ended his days in an insane asylum. 

Under the influence of the exciting exhibitions, it did not re 
quire repeated persuasion for young Rice to be admitted behind 
the scenes, and upon the occasion of a benefit taken by John May, 
he was induced to volunteer the ee Camptown Hornpipe," in 
which, as has been previously stated, he was known to excel. On 
this occasion, he was encored to repeat it until he became ex 
hausted, and then his friends in the audience suggested a change 
in the programme and called upon him to sing a negro song. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 53 

Young Eice tried to excuse himself, alleging that he knew but 
one which he did not wish to repeat, but it was all in vain, for 
there was a universal chorus from the audience, " Then give us 
that one." His innate modesty recoiled from giving the song in 
question, which was exceedingly broad, and the last verse espe 
cially would not bear repeating, but urged as he was by the con 
course of people, decided at last to sing it. The mixed masses 
roared and applauded, but those in the boxes testified their dis 
approbation by turning their heads. This was Mr. Eice s first 
introduction in connection with a circus. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

YOUNG RICE S SUCCESS AS AN ATHLETE THE FIRST OF A 
SERIES OF PHYSICAL ENCOUNTERS WHICH MADE DAN 
RICE S FAME WIDESPREAD THROUGH THE COUNTRY HOW 
" DEVIL JACK " WAS TAMED RICE S FIRST VENTURE AS 
A SHOWMAN HIS INTEREST IN "LORD BYRON " BY 
WHOM GEORGE WASHINGTON S NURSE WAS FIRST BROUGHT 
TO NEW YORK SUCCESSFUL TOUR OF THE " PIG SHOW " 
A SENSATIONAL DISCLOSURE CONNECTED WITH IT LO 
CALIZING HIS FIRST EXTEMPORE SONGS. 

A XOTHEE era now opened in the life of Dan Eice, in which 
J_A_ he felt an inclination to test the possibilities it might have 
in store for him, so he made every effort to improve his mind and 
prepare his physical capacities according to scientific regime. As 
a beginning to those preparations, he commenced his first lessons 
in gymnastics with Monsieur Guillot, the " Strong Man " of the 
Nicholls Circus. His whole life had been, however, a continual 
athletic exercise and vigorous exertion, no matter what its im 
mediate object may be, and especially if indulged in the open 
air, develops the physical man to better advantage than elaborate 
gymnasium practice indoors. 

Young Eice had, to a great degree, lived out of doors from the 
time he was three years old, indulging in all the boyish sports that 
characterized the pastimes of childhood. As he grew older, he 
had his wrestling matches with boys of his own circle, and in 
running, jumping, etc., he excelled many of his young friends 
in powers of execution and endurance. These were some of the 
methods by which his muscles were hardened, his sinews tough 
ened, and the foundation laid for that astonishing physical vigor 
and endurance which surprised every contestant with whom he 



54: KEMINISCENCES OE DAN KICE 

came in contact. Under Guillot s instruction he evinced great 
aptitude, and his naturally robust frame was, by the calisthenic 
exercises through which the French gentleman put him, con 
verted into as powerful a human machine as any one of his day 
and generation ever saw. Every one who knew Rice was aware 
that whenever he was required to act upon the defensive, he 
was found equal to the demands in every particular, for he never 
failed to punish an overt act, and in doing so he was generally 
victorious, and also secured the good opinion of those who wit 
nessed the affair, and the opponent usually " buried the hatchet " 
afterwards. In Bayardstown, just across the canal from Pitts- 
burg, there lived a notorious barroom character called by the 
opprobious nom-de-plume " Devil Jack," who, having heard of 
Dan s professional powers, had boasted that he would whip him 
the first time he saw him. But he was advised by John Paisley 
and Roger Jeffries, two worthy young fellows, that it would be 
better to let that matter alone, for he would probably be defeated 
in the attempt. But being assured of his own powers and not dis 
posed to credit the warning given him by the young men, he 
pursued the object of his challenge and decided to test it with his 
pugilistic skill. Many of the young " roughs " who regarded 
Jack as their hero, also determined what they would do with 
young Rice at the first opportunity. Pittsburg was a noted resort 
in those days for rough characters and fighters. The river popu 
lation consisting mainly of foreign element was as disorderly in 
many respects as any ever known in this country, and Rice, dur 
ing his residence there, had felt the necessity of keeping guarded 
in his remarks if he would avoid personal encounters with the 
lower element. The notorious gang who upheld Jack s su- 
premacy numbered among its leading members Coffey Richard 
son, Jake Cameron, and Andy Jackson, each of whom was a 
pugilist of no mean repute, but all yielding the palm of supremacy 
to their chief, Jack. Young Rice having been invited, as de 
scribed previously, to take part in the benefit given to John May, 
one of the clowns of the Nicholls Circus, was asked with the 
rest of the company after the performance to participate in re 
freshments at a public house, kept by James Ashworth, an Eng 
lishman, and which was a favorite resort of the circus people. 
While the company was conversing, " Devil Jack," with the 
members of his party, entered, and in a loud voice called out, 
" Where is that Dan Rice who thinks he can whip anybody? " 
Young Rice was standing at the rear of the room, and appre 
hending that trouble was brewing, quietly removed his coat, and 
no sooner had he done so, than Jack, who recognized him, hurled 
a heavy glass at him. Our hero, being on the alert, dodged the 
missile, and, unfortunately, it struck the clown, John May, a 



DAfJ 




THE ORIGINAL HUMORIST AS HE APPEARD IN HIS 

GREAT UNION SPEECH. 

f STMOINTS 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 55 

terrible blow in the abdomen, and he cried out in agony, after 
wards becoming insensible from the injury. Rice, in the mean 
time, had assumed a crouching position, and, with a rapid move 
ment towards the desperado, caught him with one hand and 
struck him a terrible blow in the face with the other. Then fol 
lowed an extraordinary exhibition of strength, scientifically dis 
played by the young athlete. Jack was a large, burly fellow, but 
regardless of his weight and strength Rice drew him to the stove, 
which, as the night was very cold, was excessively hot, and firmly 
held one side of his face against it. A shriek of agony from the 
victim caused those who witnessed the scene to interfere and he 
was rescued from the perilous situation into which his bravado 
and misdemeanor had placed him and which he justly merited. 
But he was marked for life by the hideous scars, and as he had 
lost prestige, his friends of the lower element deserted him and 
he disappeared from their enrollment as " The Bully of Bayards- 
town." At the time of the encounter one of the first to desert 
his old chief was Andy Jackman, who approached Dan, and, seiz 
ing his hand, shook it warmly, expressing for him good-fellow 
ship. He afterwards withdrew from those associations that were 
surely dragging him to a condition from which eventually it 
would be difficult for him to extricate himself, and subsequently 
proved one of our hero s stanchest friends. He shortly after 
wards married an estimable young woman, and proved himself a 
devoted husband and father as well as an esteemed citizen. And 
at his death, many years afterwards, he left a family of children 
of whom any community might be proud to accept as worthy of 
their esteem and respect. 

The natural, fun-loving propensities of Dan Rice had gained 
for him another step in the world of entertainment, and after 
the exciting scenes at the Xicholls Circus, at which he became 
very popular, his impulsive nature grasped the idea that he 
could, himself, venture in a similar undertaking in a small way, 
and, perhaps, at the same time, utilize the instructions of Mon 
sieur Guillot by putting them to practical use. 

This venture was planned and eventually executed almost 
wholly for the purpose of sight-seeing and the pleasure he might 
extract from such a tour. The monetary consideration to one of 
his calibre was merely secondary, and with one or two compan 
ions, he was ready to face the world in this new entertainment 
and derive what benefit he could from the small fees he might 
gather in his wanderings. In framing the final arrangements 
of his plans, he decided that he would be more strongly fortified 
to take the people by storming the citadel with a conspicuous 
attraction, so he lost no time in laying siege to, and securing, 
this novelty in the shape of a "Learned Pig," that was the 



56 KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN KICE 

joint possession of two conspicuous characters who had gained 
some repute by their previous exhibitions of his majesty,, Lord 
Byron. 

Mr. Osborne, a resident of Cazenovia, N. Y., a barber by trade, 
and who was afterwards the doorkeeper of the Assembly at Al 
bany, owned the creature originally. Mr. Osborne was a very 
intelligent old gentleman, and, as Mr. Rice has since said, " How 
could he be otherwise, being an old, live Whig? " In all prob 
ability his astuteness may have made some impression on the 
tender mind of the four-footed wonder; for soon after its pre 
cocity became noised abroad in Cazenovia, C. L. Kise, an ingen 
ious Connecticut Yankee, became part owner of the pig by pur 
chase. This extraordinary animal seemed destined to prove a 
success, for when Mr. Kise exhibited " Lord Byron " under a 
tent in the Broadhurst lot in Pittsburg, it was the result of that 
exhibition that caused young Bice, pining for a new field of action 
for the exercise of his genius, to mature his plans. He was con 
stantly watching every available opportunity whereby he could 
display his physical powers and create a name in the athletic 
world. As Mr. Osborne wished to withdraw from this form of 
entertainment, young Eice purchased his half -interest in the show, 
Mr. Kise still remaining the owner of the other half. Before 
going any further, it is due to Mr. Kise to mention in connection 
with these memoirs the fact that it was he who first brought 
George Washington s " Black Mammy " nurse, Joyce Heth, from 
honored obscurity in old Virginia and put her on exhibition in 
New York City. She was first seen in the Bowery, near the old 
Chatham Theatre, and was afterwards taken at P. T. Barnum s 
earnest solicitation, to the American Museum where she was in 
spected for some time by the interested public. Even in that 
day, Colonel Eice says, the imposture was regarded as a sort of 
patriotic " fraud " which at once endeared itself to Mr. Barnum s 
soul for that reason. Mr. Kise also procured for Barnum the first 
" mermaid " seen on dry land, and even the " mysterious lady " 
herself was the product of that gentleman s ingenuity. 

In returning to our subject, we find " Lord Byron " installed 
as the joint property of C. L. Kise and Dan Eice; and in the 
spring of 1841, they commenced a starring tour with hopeful 
expectations that the outcome would furnish to them the desired 
results, namely, a monetary benefit in the case of Mr. Kise, but 
merely a name for Dan Eice. This was Mr. Eice s first inde 
pendent venture, but he soon became aware of the fact that in 
defatigable labor attended the business, and only a strong will 
and perseverance would pronounce it a success. He, therefore, 
centered all his energies to establish that end, and his mind grad 
ually expanded in his efforts to employ his inventive genius, and 



OF DAN RICE 57 

his rapid progress in later years, in that peculiar capacity, origi 
nated with that little wandering band in those early days. The 
" Learned Pig " undoubtedly had certain accomplishments, as he 
was advertised to foretell the future, to play an invincible game 
of cards, and read the Book of Fate. Mr. Kise with his happy 
faculty exhibited the creature to good advantage, but the strong 
feature of the show was the " Young American Hercules," Dan 
Eice, with his repartee, his songs of sentiment and pathos, and 
his inimitable feats of strength. Xow began that delicate, com 
plicated study of human nature in which he was a natural adept; 
that tenacious grasping after the hopes, sorrows, and joys of the 
** plain people " which contributed so conspicuously to Colonel 
Eice s success in after years. Xo item of news gathered at the 
roadside while soliciting a ride with a good-natured teamster, 
or gossiping with an old person at a farmhouse or an inn, was too 
trivial or unimportant to be treasured in his retentive memory. 
Every circumstance connected with the history of persons and 
places collected in his peregrinations, no matter how remote or 
small in detail, was stowed away to be utilized to an advantage 
whenever, by chance, he might visit that place or come in con 
tact with the individual whom it concerned. Like the gypsy, he 
was always enabled to astonish some coterie or family in every 
village in which the quadruped was exhibited with revelations 
that savored of necromancy, and spread the fame of his lordship 
far and wide. In all the well-known games of cards, the four- 
footed gambler, as might have been expected, with young Rice 
overshadowing the cards of both competitors, was invariably the 
winner of the small coins staked by his verdant admirers. At 
Jacksonville, Pa., a Mr. Spangle, an incredulous dignitary of the 
church of that place, who doubted the possibility of a pig beat 
ing him at " all-fours," a game that had been favorite with him 
in time previous, was, the week following Eice s departure, called 
before the church tribunal and suspended from his office for in 
dulging in " high-low-Jack," in which he was beaten by this 
pedantic grunter. So largely did Mr. Eice attribute his success 
in after life to the experience he gained in this employment, that 
he taught to a poodle dog he called Seth, the most plausible of 
canine charlatans, the rudiments of the classic lore for which the 
pig had previously been celebrated. Many readers of these pages 
will recollect the advent of " Seth," from where, no one knows, 
led by an old tattered beggar, under whose wig and worthless 
garments was the graceful and muscular form of Dan Eice, with 
a spirit ripe for any adventure, no matter how hazardous or wild. 
This assumed impersonation on the part of Mr. Eice was merely 
a scheme invented by him to advertise the " Pig Show." Soon 
after the beginning of his tour with the pig young Eice overheard 



58 KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 

an allusion to a barn that had recently been burned in Greens- 
burg, a small town in Western Pennsylvania, which he proposed 
visiting the next day. He soon gleaned from the gossips ail the 
facts with which every one was acquainted, namely, that the barn 
was burned the preceding Monday night and a man named Wil 
liam Gates was suspected of the crime. The appearance of Gates 
was described as well as that of another person named Jaacks, 
who was owner of the barn, but there was no other reason for the 
suspicion of Gates excepting the fact that a quarrel had occurred 
between the two men a short time previous to the burning of the 
building. After reaching Greensburg the next day, Mr. Rice 
placarded the place with his twelve-inch square showbills with a 
picture of " Lord Byron " at the top, decked in ribbons, wig, and 
spectacles and scanning what w r as intended to be the " Book of 
Fate." Beneath the picture was a glowing description of how 
the pig foretold General Jackson s election fully six months be 
fore it occurred; predicted correctly the number of children Mrs. 
North would have; how long old Mrs. Jones would live; to whom 
and when Miss Smith would be married; would play and win a 
game of " all-fours " with the most dexterous gambler in the 
place, and would expound all questions relating to the past, pres 
ent, and future; besides telling who borrowed Mrs. Barker s 
spoons and failed to return them, and what biped laid waste the 
Wilkins chicken-house. This advertising being accomplished, 
in order to prevent the suspicion of his having learned his news 
from the townspeople, and partly to enhance his importance by 
avoiding the eyes of the rabble, he and his inseparable companion 
confined themselves to their room for the remainder of the day, 
with a cabalistic curtain hung up before the window, and an unin 
telligible jargon between the two whenever a servant had occa 
sion to enter the room or a listener was supposed to be at the key 
hole. In the evening, when young Eice and the pig made their 
appearance in the tent, it was, as usual, filled with anxious specta 
tors, as might have been expected with such a pig and such 
strong advertisement. 

The audience was evidently predisposed in favor of the pig, 
so gayly was he decorated with parti-colored ribbons and so 
cleanly and tidy did he appear after a toilet as carefully prepared 
as the most pampered lapdog ever received from its interested 
mistress. 

After a few introductory remarks to the people assembled, Mr. 
Rice usually gave a brief synopsis of the creature s endowments, 
and demonstrated the same in a manner so novel and peculiar, 
that, to the audience, the facts appeared real and tangible. On 
this particular occasion he so framed his remarks that he brought 
about the interesting expose of the burned building. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 59 

" Now," said Mr. Rice to his Lordship, " we will see what you 
know. Can you tell me what o clock it is? " 

The pig jumped with his forefeet against his interrogator and 
caught the seal of his watch gently between his teeth. " Oh! 
anybody can tell by looking at the watch, but I suppose you must 
have your way, here it is." 

The pig inspected the timepiece knowingly, and then went to 
the figured cards that were laid on the platform and brought to 
his master the figure seven. " Now," said Mr. Rice, " show me 
how many minutes past seven," and he returned and brought to 
him the number ten, signifying, Mr. Rice explained, that it was 
ten minutes past seven o clock. On submitting the watch to the 
audience, behold, it was found to be correct. 

" Will some gentleman," pursued Mr. Rice, " draw one of these 
cards?" producing a well-worn pack. Accordingly, the six of 
hearts was drawn and then returned to the pack, which was spread 
face upwards on the floor. Being asked what card had been 
drawn, the pig picked up the six of hearts. 

" Byron, who is the greatest rogue in the room? " Everybody 
moved uneasily in their seats as the animal seemingly glanced 
thoughtfully over the audience, and their delight knew no bounds 
when he stopped opposite Mr. Rice himself and thrust his nose 
against his limbs. 

" Byron, what do you deserve when you won t be washed and 
combed?" 

Byron ran and brought Mr. Rice s walking stick and laid it at 
his feet. 

" Now, ladies and gentlemen, those who want their fortunes 
told will please stand up here in a row." 

The verdant element, after a great deal of giggling and ban 
tering, proceeded to assemble, and a score of rustic beauties 
and gallants of the village advanced, while Jaacks and his 
wife at that moment entered and took their seats. Mr. Rice 
recognized them readily from the description he had previously 
obtained, and after a mysterious conference with the pig, Mr. 
Rice said, addressing Jaacks, who sat in the front row with his 
aged wife: 

" Your name, sir, is Jaacks, and you have come to inquire who 
set fire to your barn last Monday night." 

Had a torpedo been cast into the tent, it could not have pro 
duced greater consternation. Jaacks alone was composed, for his 
anxiety to ferret out the offender had taken the place of the 
amazement he would otherwise have felt. 

" Yell, who ish te tarn raschall ash purnt my parn? " 

" Byron always charges ten dollars in advance for making 
an important revelation like this," responded Mr. Rice. 



CO KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

" Here ish de monish! Now, den, ash your pig, and if he dells 
me te tarn raschall, I ll give half a tollar more." 

" Well, sir, Byron, do you know who burnt Mr. Jaacks barn? " 

The pig picked up the word " yes " from the floor. 

"Had he black hair?" 

The pig picked up the word " no " and brought it to his master. 

" Was his hair red? " 

" No." 

Byron then proceeded to describe the culprit accurately by 
words printed on cards. " Py Got, te very man. I shall go 
straight to de Justice, by Got, and sue him to jail. Now just 
ash de pig if he has a scar on his eye." 

Upon that hint, of course, Byron decided indubitably he had 
a scar over his eye. 

" Dunder and blitzen! I shall speeny te pig to de trial and Bill 
Gates shall go to Benetentiary." 

These remarkable revelations put all other experiments out of 
the heads of the audience, who made their way in awe from the 
tent. 

Contradictory accounts are rife in regard to the subsequent 
proceedings. On western steamboats, the story is told that Mr. 
Jaacks had Lord Byron up before the Grand Jury of the county, 
who were as superstitious as himself, and that a true bill was 
found against Gates, on the pig s evidence, after which the pig 
was held in recognizance of $1,000, to appear at the next term of 
the county court, where, with his interpreter, Mr. Eice, he bore 
testimony so conclusive against the prisoner that the jury pro 
nounced him guilty without leaving the box, and also that Gates 
was confined in the county jail a fortnight, until the lamented 
Governor Shunk heard of his ridiculous incarceration and par 
doned him. 

The correct version of the aft air is, that Mr. Jaacks, armed with 
these portentous revelations, which were to him " confirmations 
strong as proofs of holy writ," made liberal use of the pig s pre 
tended truth before the grand jury, confusing his own suspicions 
with Lord Byron s evidence in such a way as to make a pretty 
good ex parte case, and that the grand jury adopting the general 
impression of the county, some of them having been present, pos 
sibly, at the exhibition, without any reasonable grounds found a 
" true bill." That Gates was tried, all accounts agree, but upon 
a careful examination of the archives of the Secretary of State s 
office, no record of such conviction or subsequent pardon can be 
found. 

In the community, however, where these circumstances oc 
curred, implicit faith was centered in the pig s omniscience. 

It was at this period of his career that Mr. Eice first developed 



EEMINISCEXCES OF DAN KICE 61 

his remarkable faculty, afterwards so useful, of composing and 
singing extempore songs on the topics of the hour. He had been 
a boy friend of Stephen C. Foster and Morrison Foster, his elder 
brother, who were the sons of the Mayor of Allegheny City. 
Stephen showed in his earliest years the talent that afterwards 
made him famous, and Mr. Rice, with some instructions from his 
gifted chum, afterwards succeeded in accomplishing this difficult 
art of song-making for himself, that he used to successful advan 
tage in localizing events and portraying character. His first 
effort, " Hard Times," as composed and sung on the " Learned 
Pig " tour, is as follows: 



HARD TIMES. 

Come listen awhile, and give ear to my song, 
Concerning these hard times twill not take you long; 
How everybody is always trying to bite, 
In cheating each other, and think they do right 
In these hard times. 

The landlord will feed your horse on oats, corn, and hay, 
And as soon as your back s turned, he ll take it away; 
For oats he ll give chaff, and for corn he ll give bran, 
Still he will cry, " I m too honest a man 
For these hard times." 

There is the Miller, who grinds for his toll; 
He will do your work well, as he ll care for his soul 
As soon as your back s turned, with the dish in his fist, 
He will leave you the toll, and himself take the grist, 
In these hard times. 

There is the Lawyer he ll turn like a key 
He will tell a, big lie to gain a small fee; 
He will tell you your cause is honest and right, 
And, if you have no cash, he will swear you re a bite, 
In these hard times. 

There is the Tinker he will mend all your ware, 
For little or nothing some cider or beer; 
Before he commences he will get half-drunk or more, 
And in stopping one hole will punch twenty more, 
In these hard times. 



62 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

The Jeweller he works in the finest of gold, 
He makes the best earrings that ever were sold; 
Tells peddlers to lie, to dispel ladies fears, 
Till the verdigris eats oft their fingers and ears, 
In these hard times. 

There is the Printer he is a hard case; 
You always can tell him by the brass in his face; 
If you owe him a dollar, you will think it no harm, 
But, if you don t fork it over, he ll lock up your form, 
In these hard times. 

There is the Barber, who labors for pelf; 
He shaves every blockhead that can t shave himself; 
A dime he will have from his friends or his foes, 
Or else he will never let go of your nose, 
In these hard times. 

There is the Constable, who thinks himself wise; 
He will come to your house with a big pack of lies; 
He will take all your property and then he will sell 

Get drunk on your money that s doing d n well, 

These hard times. 

There is the farmer Oh, Lord! how he ll cheat, 
With his oats, corn, and barley, and rusty old wheat; 
He will thirst for a penny till he is blue at the nose, 
And he ll d n you for thanks, that s the way the world goes 
In these hard times. 

The priest will tell you which way you must steer, 
To save your poor souls, which he values so dear; 
And if he can t draw something out of your purse, 
He will take off his blessing and whack on a curse, 
In these hard times. 

There are some Young Men, who a-courting will go, 
To see pretty girls, you very well know; 
The old folks will giggle, they ll squint, and they ll grin, 
Crying " Use him well, Sail, or he won t come again, 
For it s hard times." 

There is the merchant, his goods are the best 
That ever arrived from the East or the West; 
With his damaged calicoes, jews -harps, and brass clocks, 
Are quite necessary for all clever folks, 
In these hard times. 




WILL s. HAYS" 




THE " DAN RTCE " 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 63 

Now come the Ladies, those sweet little dears, 
To the balls and the parties, how nice they appear, 
With their whalebones and corsets, themselves will squeeze, 
And they have to unlace them before they can sneeze, 
In these hard times. 

From father to mother, from sister to brother, 
From cousin to cousin, they cheat one another; 
Maids about modesty make a great rout, 
And rogues about honesty often fall out, 
In these hard times. 

The Blacksmith says he pays cash for his stock, 
Therefore it s hard for him to trust it out; 
He ll sell a few shoes, and mend an old plow, 
And when the Fall comes, he must have your best cow, 
In these hard times. 

The Doctor will dose you with physic and squills, 
With blisters and plasters, and powders and pills; 
Wlien your money s all spent, and your breathing most done, 
The Doctor cries out " Poor soul, you re most gone," 
In these hard times. 

The Baker will cheat you in bread that you eat 
So will the Butcher, in the weight of his meat; 
He ll tip up the scales to make them weigh down, 
And swear it is weight when it lacks half a pound, 
In these hard times. 

The Tailor will cabbage your cloth and your skin 
He ll cheat and defraud you, and swear it s no sin; 
Although he is honest, as all the world knows, 
But he will have his cabbage wherever he goes, 
In these hard times. 

There are some young men who cut quite a dash; 
They strut around town without a cent of cash 
With low pocket pants, and pigeon-tail coats, 
And hair on their chins like a parcel of goats, 
In these hard times. 

At Washington City, Politicians throng 
Try various ways to make their sessions long; 
Many reasons they give why they are obliged to stay, 
But the clearest reason yet is eight dollars a day, 
In these hard times. 



64 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

The Judge on the bench is honest and true 
Hell gaze at a man,, as though to look him through; 
He ll send you six months or one year to jail, 
And for five dollars more he ll send you to h 11, 
In these hard times. 

Now, a word for myself, before I make any foes, 
There are exceptions in all trades, as all the world knows, 
Although in my song you may errors detect, 
I hope tis as good as my friends could expect, 
In these hard times. 



CHAPTER IX. 

MR. RICE AS A POET HIS FIRST EFFUSION IN HONOR OF 
LORD BYRON THE ONLY "READING NOTICE" HE EVER 
PAID FOR IN A NEWSPAPER ADVENTURES WITH BASIL 
BROWN, WHOSE DEATH HE SO STRANGELY FORETOLD IN 
CIDENT OF COL. F. K. HAIN S BOYHOOD MR. RICE IN PHI 
LADELPHIA HIS DEBUT UNDER PHINEAS TAYLOR IN FEATS 
OF STRENGTH HE OBTAINS AN ENGAGEMENT WITH HOWE S 
CIRCUS BY WINNING A HARDLY CONTESTED WRESTLING 
BOUT CONTRACT WITH BARNUM HERCULEAN STRENGTH 
VERSUS AN EMPTY PUNCHEON CHARACTERISTIC ANECDOTE 
OF P. T. BARNUM ENGAGEMENT WITH JENNY LIND S AGENT 
TO GO ABROAD. 

THESE new features which Mr. Eice voluntarily introduced 
in his performances and the spontaneous recognition which 
greeted his efforts in this direction had a tendency to assure him 
that his efforts were appreciated. And that knowledge spurred 
him onward in his attempts to reach a higher standard. His 
extempore speeches consisting at first of only a few well-chosen 
remarks, gradually enlarged until he craved for higher subjects 
that would be a source of interest to the more intelligent of his 
spectators. This standard could be reached only by hard, in 
cessant study, and our hero, being aware of that fact, applied him 
self to a regime of mental cultivation which has occupied a long, 
eventful life. 

Being possessed of a powerful and retentive memory, it has 
served him faithfully in all the intricate phases of his usefulness, 
and never, in any instance, betrays him; therefore, he is always 
prepared, even in his advanced age, for any occasion, and ade- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 65 

quate to the demands made upon his social requirements without 
any previous preparation. His first poetic effusion on the 
Learned Pig " pronounced his genius in that direction to be 
also in embryo,, and the following little incident in connection 
with it has been related by Colonel Eice himself in later years. 
During one of his interviews he remarked, " The only puff I 
ever paid for in a newspaper, to use an offensive word, was poetry. 
It was a poem in honor of the Learned Pig, and I paid a half- 
dollar for its publication in the Commonwealth, of Washing 
ton, Pa., in 1841. The lines ran as follows, to the best of my 
recollection: 

" I ve seen the Learned Pig. Tis queer 
To see a hog become a seer. 
He knows his letters and can hunt 
The alphabet without a grunt; 
Can add, subtract, and knows the rule 
As well as any boy in school; 
By working with his head and snout 
He finds the truth without a doubt. 
Tis wondrous how a brute so low 
Was taught by man so much to know! " 

" Now it seemed to me," added Mr. Eice, " that the production 
was worth publishing for its own sake. But the editor of the 
Washington Commonwealth did not so see it. Well," with a 
touch of the old-time humor, " his coffers may have been low, and 
I thought his conduct equally so." From Washington, the Pig 
Show departed for Claysville, Pa., and having reached that place, 
made arrangements for spending the night at the stage hotel 
kept by Basil Brown, a thrifty boniface. Brown s Hotel was a 
well-known stop on the National Turnpike, a thoroughfare then 
in the height of its glory. Nothing unusual occurred during the 
night, as the performance was conducted harmoniously and the 
audience was satisfactorily entertained. The Learned Pig and 
his exhibitors were driven away in the conveyance next morning 
to Middletown, Pa,, and as they stopped in front of the hotel at 
that place, they were surprised to perceive that Basil Brown, their 
host of the previous night, was there to meet them. Before they 
had alighted from the wagon that contained the paraphernalia of 
the show, including a chest, which, at times, was improvised into 
a seat in case of an emergency, an officer appeared with a warrant 
authorizing him to search the show- wagon for a stolen overcoat. 
Here was a novelty entirely unlooked for and unsolicited, and 
indignant as they were at the outrageous accusation, Mr. Eice and 
his companions submitted willingly to the search, in the course 
5 



66 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

of which, however, they were both confident that the missing coat 
would not be found among their effects. 

As the officer was on the point of giving up the search, Brown, 
all the while stood looking on with a sardonic smile. At last, he 
remarked to the officer, " Look under the chest," and to the sur 
prise of Mr. Eice and Mr. Kise, there the missing coat was found. 
Accordingly, the whole outfit was seized, and before one word of 
remonstrance could be uttered by young Eice and his partner, 
they were taken back to Washington and confined in the jail. 
Brown, on the way back, offered to compromise with Mr. Kise 
for the sum of twenty-five dollars, and expressed a desire to pay 
the costs, which Mr. Eice refused to accept, as it would not relieve 
them from the stigma of dishonesty. Mr. Seth T\ Hurd, a popu 
lar lawyer, was engaged to defend them, and the public interest 
was aroused to a high state of excitement, for young Eice was 
widely and favorably known throughout the country. 

Mrs. Cadwallader Evans, a wealthy lady of Pittsburg, whose 
husband invented the safety guard to prevent the explosion of 
steam-boilers, was, at the time, visiting in Washington, and en 
listed her sympathies in the case, as she was a friend of Mr. Eice s 
and one of his patrons when he was in the livery business in 
Pittsburg. This lady kindly offered to furnish bail on this oc 
casion, but young Eice declined to accept it, preferring, as he 
informed her, to stand trial, as he felt sure that some evidence 
would be furnished to prove them both innocent without any re 
flection on them. Nor was his confidence in the argument mis 
taken, for the landlord of Middletown and his wife both volun 
tarily appeared at the trial and testified that when Brown arrived 
at their hotel at early dawn that morning, he wore a brown over 
coat, and after ordering breakfast left the hotel. When he re 
turned, just previous to the arrival of the young men with the 
show, he had no overcoat, and they overheard him say to the offi 
cer who made the search, " Look under the chest." It was 
clearly proved that Brown must have employed some means for 
placing the coat where it was found while young Eice and Kise 
were slowly making their way to Middletown, for he knew so 
well where to locate it. Mr. Hurd made an eloquent appeal in 
behalf of the young men and there was a triumphant acquittal of 
the prisoners. That evening, in the hotel parlor at Washing 
ton, Mr. Eice celebrated the finale of the overcoat dilemma by 
singing a song in mongrel verse descriptive of the whole pro 
ceedings, in which Mr. Brown s name figured conspicuously, by 
being used with satirical freedom. The sequel to this story 
proved to be a strange one in several details. Years afterwards, 
in 18G3, Colonel Eice, who was now both wealthy and famous, 
took his circus to the town of Cambridge, 0., and when the place 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 67 

designated for the night was reached, it was found to be 
" Brown s Hotel." As Colonel Eice walked from the clerk s desk 
where he had registered, to go to his room, he noticed a hand 
some, matronly woman in one of the parlors looking at him with 
apprehension in her eyes. She called to him softly as he was 
passing and said, " Mr. Eice, spare us! Years ago my husband 
wronged you, but you won t pursue your vengeance after so long 
a time. We are well-to-do and respected here, and our son is a 
cashier in the bank. Let bygones be bygones! " Colonel Eice 
lost no time in reassuring her, but in the course of conversation, 
remarked, " Madame, I am gifted with the light of prophecy. I 
see disaster impending over your household; your husband s oc 
cupation exposes him to many perils. If his life is not insured, 
I advise you to persuade him to insure it at once." The expres 
sions Colonel Eice used were not meant to distress the woman, 
but were made merely to annoy her husband. This good lady, in 
whom he saw, with the eyes of faith, the potentiality of a rich 
and favored widow, promised to follow his advice; but a few 
mornings afterwards when the stage-coach drove up to the en 
trance of Brown s Hotel, the host went to assist with the luggage 
and a drummer s trunk fell upon him from the top of the coach 
and he was instantly killed. 

Many amusing incidents have been related to the younger gen 
erations by the rustic element in those Pennsylvania villages and 
hamlets in connection with the Eice and Kise Pig Show, and we 
select the following as it has a bearing upon the early boyhood of 
the late Col. F. K. Hain, so conspicuous in the financial world of 
Xew York as the esteemed and well-known chief manager of the 
Manhattan Elevated Eailroad System. The circumstance oc 
curred in Wormelsdorf, near Stoutville, Col. Hain s native village 
in Pennsylvania, in the course of the visit of Mr. Eice and the 
Learned Pig. Farmer Hain attended the show accompanied by 
his little boy. Being one of the important men of the neighbor 
hood, the audience felt gratified at the honor conferred when Mr. 
Hain was invited to play cards with " Lord Byron," and conse 
quently the game was watched with close attention. Mr. Eice s 
signals to the pig consisted of snapping the thumb and finger 
nails together, a process unobserved by everyone except Lord 
Byron. As the animal s wonderful adaptation had created quite 
a stir in the country circles, Farmer Hain s little son, being a close 
observer, had not accompanied his father for mere pleasure only; 
it was a visit of searching investigation as well. When he ob 
served the cold, critical eye of the four-footed seer fixed on the 
.cards his father held; he instantly exhibited that shrewd resource 
fulness, which, in later years, so successfully characterized his 
management of affairs, and cried out impulsively, " Take care, 



68 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Pop; take care, the pig will beat you. He s looking in your 
hand." The farmer skillfully manipulated his cards, but all to 
no purpose, for the pig, having profited as everyone thought, by 
the stolen glances, successfully won the game. Which fact may 
be attributed, of course, to the adroitness of Mr. Eice, who, 
though young in years, was one of the most skillful card-players 
of the day. 

The Pig Show episode was concluded in September, 1841, with 
some profit, and as a controversy arose in regard to the future 
possessor of " Lord Byron " he was executed after the manner of 
his common brotherhood, each partner receiving his quota ac 
cording to the terms or conditions of contract. 

This Solomonesque partition was made in Eiter s Hotel in 
Kensington, Pa., and Mr. Eice soon afterwards retired to Pitts- 
burg. Thus the faithful, obedient creature was disposed of to 
answer the requirements of a business controversy, and " Lord 
Byron " dwells only in the shades of memory. 

" The pig/ said Colonel Eice in later years, " is by no means 
the most stupid of animals, and there have been Learned Pigs in 
all ages. The quality of the pig, on which I mainly relied in 
performing Lord Byron was his extreme acuteness of hearing. 
Few animals have such keen ears. The noise of snapping one 
finger nail against another was distinctly intelligible to the crea 
ture and conveyed to his brain a distinct idea, to which he in 
stantly responded when the cards were reached, that answered 
the questions that were propounded." 

The miniature enterprise consisting of the Pig Show had been 
the means of giving Mr. Eice a self-confidence that he could not 
have gained under better auspices, as long as he had determined 
to adapt his talents to this form of entertainment as a feature of 
his future professional career; therefore, his aspirations were en 
couraged by his previous successes and he sought recognition 
among the better class of managers, who filled the profession 
with the best talent they could obtain. With his youthful mind 
filled with high hopes of success, he made arrangements to leave 
Pittsburg and go to Philadelphia, which city would, in all prob 
ability, afford better opportunities for a desirable opening. In 
taking this step, the results proved very satisfactory to our hero, 
for in October of 1841, he began an engagement with Phineas 
Taylor, the uncle of P. T. Barnum, in Masonic Hall on Chestnut 
Street. The exhibition was called the " Battle of Bunker Hill/ 
and showed a number of life-like figures engaged in combat. It 
was an ingenious mechanical contrivance, illustrating the scene 
of the battle with historical accuracy. Mr. Eice s part in this 
show was to do "feats of strength," comic songs, and dances. 
On the same evenings, in the Chinese Museum on Sansom Street 



BEMINISCEXCES OF DAN KICE" 69 

above Ninth, he would sing in character accompanied by the 
.superior talent of Miss Rose Shaw. This accomplished lady, who 
is an old friend of Mr. Rice s, afterwards became Mrs. Charles 
Howard, and later Mrs. Harry Watkins; her husband being the 
well-known actor and playwright of that name. She was the 
youngest of the well-known and talented Shaw family who origi 
nally came from England, and is also the sister of Josephine 
Shaw, the theatrical star who afterwards became Mrs. John Hoey. 
When the Shaw family first came to this country, they were em 
ployed by Mr. Rice s father, Daniel McLaren, to entertain the 
guests of the famous Pavilion Hotel and Gardens, at Saratoga, 
of which he was the owner and proprietor. Gen. Winfield Scott 
and others of national reputation heard them sing there. The 
family consisted of three sisters and a brother. 

Mr. Rice made a decided success in this, his first paid profes 
sional engagement, and after two weeks he was asked to go to 
the Walnut Street Theatre where Howe s Circus was perform 
ing. " Uncle Nathan " Howe, S. B. Howe s elder brother, sent 
Mr. Rice word that he wanted an interview, and that young 
gentleman lost no time in obeying the summons at the first op 
portunity. After a few preliminaries, " What about those feats 
of strength of yours," asked Uncle Nathan, " are you really very 
strong?" Mr. Rice answered readily that he thought he was. 
" Have a chew? " Uncle Nathan asked, passing to Mr. Rice some 
tobacco, and keeping his eye all the while fixed on the young 
athlete s modest face. Young Rice responded in the negative; 
he did not chew tobacco. 

" How much a week do you want? " was the old gentleman s 
next question. 

" Fifty dollars," was the reply; and it was a large sum of money 
in those days. 

" Can you wrestle ? " asked Uncle Nathan. 

" 1 am considered somewhat of a wrestler," said Mr. Rice. 

" Well," the old gentleman went on, " if you can throw Joe 
Gushing, I ll engage you for the circus for fifty dollars a week." 
That stipend was a consideration worth risking, so the arrange 
ments with Mr. Howe were completed by Mr. Rice accepting on 
those terms. The news that young Rice was going to test his 
prowess in the ring with the great fighter and sidehold wrestler 
of Howe s Circus was soon noised abroad among the attaches. On 
the occasion in question. Gushing and Rice were attired in 
wrestling costume and exhibited before a large audience, con 
sidering there was no charge and no time to advertise. The 
first fall, side-hold, Rice won, to everybody s great surprise, and 
that settled the issue satisfactorily to Uncle Nathan and he en 
gaged Mr. Rice according to agreement for two weeks. In re- 



70 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

gard to Gushing, it should be stated that his imprudent habits 
had for the time being impaired his physical strength, and his 
condition, when he took part in the contest, contributed largely 
to making it a failure for him. Mr. Rice s Philadelphia engage 
ments proved a drawing card before metropolitan audiences, and 
when he finished his contract with Phineas Taylor, he engaged to 
go to Barnum s Museum in New York, at the corner of Broadway 
and Ann Street, at a salary of fifty dollars per week. 

There was a dearth of attractions at the Museum at that time, 
as Joyce Heth was dead, and Tom Thumb, the mermaid, and the 
Fiji had not yet been discovered; and Mr. Taylor was making 
strenuous efforts to educate his nephew, Mr. Barnum, to be a 
showman; and it was Mr. Taylor who engaged Mr. Barnum s peo 
ple and advised him generally in those days. Mr. Rice reached 
the Museum the last week in December, 1841, and after the pre 
liminaries regarding terms, benefits, etc., were settled, in which 
Mr. Barnum s well-known aptness in bargaining shone conspicu 
ously, something like the following conversation ensued: " You 
say that besides all this, you can support upon your breast a barrel 
of water?" asked Mr. Barnum. "Yes, sir." "Well, then, as 
the old routine feats of pulling against horses, breaking hempen 
ropes of thirty-six strands, etc., etc., have been exhausted by the 
French Monsieurs hereabouts, we will have to make the most of 
your extempore songs, negro acting, and water carrying. Of 
course you can support a puncheon as well as a barrel ? " 

" How pray of course ? " asked Mr. Rice. " A puncheon is 
twice as heavy as a barrel." 

" You are green," said Mr. Barnum. " It is easy enough. If 
you can lift a barrel filled with water, you can lift a barrel 
empty?" 

" Of course. 

" Well, supporting an empty barrel will be no greater exertion 
than to support an empty puncheon no ganger will officiously 
take the measurements of the cask. In fact a pipe of 126 gallons 
will tell so much better than a hogshead of 63 gallons that we may 
as well try the whole hog." 

" But you forget,, Mr. Barnum, that it will be necessary to call 
for assistance from the audience to place the pipe upon me and 
they would smell the cheat in an instant." 

" Intolerable verdancy! I fear you are too soft. Listen! We 
will have let s see four men did you say were necessary to lift 
a barrel of water? We will have at least ten of our employees 
seated among the audience, dressed each night in different guise, 
so that when a call is made for assistance, they will after a little 
persuasion and exhibition of natural diffidence, good-naturedly 
step forth, and never be recognized as having done the same 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 71 

manoeuvre the previous evening. This, too, will furnish us with 
a couple of men to put on top of you and eight more for an 
effective tableau. There s nothing like piling it on thick." 

" Well, Mr. Barnum, I am green, and you are a genius! " ad 
mitted Mr. Eice. The next day but one, Barnum s posters, al 
ways interesting, even in the greatest dearth of novelties, loomed 
up with unwonted brilliancy as follows: 

AMERICAN MUSEUM! 

Corner of Broadway and Ann Street, 

P. T. Barnum, Proprietor and Manager. 

DAN EICE, 
THE YOUNG AMERICAN HEECULES, 

Having executed his twelve labors west, and, like another ALEX- 
ANDEE, sighing for another labor to achieve, makes his debut 
here this evening in his entire round of novel characters; As the 

VIEGINIA NEGRO! 

He acts the negro so naturally as to shame Simon-Pure Darkeys, 
so miserably do they look the negro in comparison. He will 
sing a 

BUDGET OF COMIC SONGS! 

Founded upon matters and things occurring through the day, and 
which as well as his negro songs, will be extempore. He will im 
provise in metrical notes upon any subject the audience may sug 
gest, and conclude with his " ASTOUNDING FEATS OF HEE- 
CULEAN STRENGTH! " which have never been and probably 
never will be accomplished by any other man, and have a parallel 
only in 

SAMSON S CARRYING OFF THE GATES OF GAZA! 

in which he will support a pipe of 126 gallons of water, with two 
men standing thereupon on his breast; a weight so great that it 
requires ten men with handspikes to raise the vast vessel to its 
desired position." 

The whole of this was surmounted by a large wood-cut, repre 
senting Mr. Eice in the required position, surmounted by a pun 
cheon, two men and eight subordinates, with capstan bars, who 
were supposed to have raised up the puncheon to a level with Mr. 
Rice s breast. Great was the excitement in Gotham and inces- 



72 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

sant the demand for tickets. The audience was enchanted when 
our young Hercules performed to the letter all the difficult parts 
promised of him, and Mr. Barnum began to retrieve his reputa 
tion for this once in exhibiting precisely what he advertised with 
out any disjointed drawback. The second night the house was 
even more thronged and Barnum was elated beyond measure, 
congratulating himself not a little at his success in driving such 
a close bargain with the " green Yankee " boy who was engaged 
" for six nights only," with the provisionary clause for as many 
more as " the said Barnum might desire upon the same terms." 

The third and fourth nights the public seemed to be elated with 
excitement, and Barnum already projected an enlargement of the 
lecture-room to accommodate the hundreds that were nightly 
turned away, " to his great regret that they should be deprived of 
such an extraordinary sight, particularly as Mr. Eice remained 
but two nights more, positively." 

On the fifth night an unusually brilliant audience was assem 
bled, and many who did not favor a theatre under any circum 
stances made a compromise with their consciences and, under the 
name of a " museum saloon," made their appearance and wit 
nessed a performance theatrical in every phase, except theatrical 
talent. Loud cheers greeted Mr. Eice when the curtain arose, 
and were so long continued that he became weary of forcibly 
bowing his acknowledgments, and almost forgot the subject that 
had been sent from the audience for him to improvise on. But 
he caught the inspiration from the surroundings and sent forth 
in mellow measure his adroit innuendoes at everyone and every 
thing in general, with a review of the " on dits " of the day. 
When Mr. Eice appeared in character the audience could scarcely 
realize that it was the same fine-looking performer who had left 
their presence so recently, and were inclined to think it was 
another hoax imposed upon them by the irresistible Barnum, 
until the character created shouts of laughter by indulging in an 
abandon that they easily recognized as the handiwork of the same 
artist. 

But it was when the curtain arose for his appearance as Her 
cules that the excitement was most intense. His entire salary 
for the week had been expended upon fancy tights, scarf and 
sandals for this chef d ceuvre of feats, and many an artist s eye 
scanned critically the perfection of his proportions and his mus 
cular and symmetrical -limbs. A huge pipe was discovered in the 
background, with levers through ropes slung around it. A digni 
fied bow and look of calm superiority preceded his gracefully 
throwing himself backward into a bending position upon his 
hands without taking his feet from the floor. Then a pale youth 
in tinselled Turkish garb appeared and desired " ten strong men 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICK 

to assist in lifting the pipe." After a little natural dalliance 
ten men were reluctantly persuaded to overcome their bashful- 
ness and win the gratitude of the audience by stepping forth. 
With measured tread, accompanying the hand-organ in the win 
dow, they proceeded to take hold of the levers. Every nerve was 
apparently strained to the utmost, and, the perspiration breaking 
from their faces, they managed finally to raise the pipe to a 
plane with Mr. Rice s breast. Gradually, and with great effort, 
they lowered it carefully until it rested upon him, threatening 
to crush him to the floor. At first he bent under the immense 
weight, as with one hand they steadied it, until he gradually 
became accustomed to the burden, while with the other hand 
they brushed away the evidence of extreme exertion from their 
faces. 

Soon his strength reacted, and his body, that had at first 
swayed with the weight, was observed to recover its equilibrium 
and return to its crescent position. The levers were then re 
moved, and the audience shouted and applauded. Two men, 
joining their hands from opposite sides over the pipe, placed one 
foot on the recumbent Hercules and simultaneously rose to 
gether, standing upon him. The eight subordinates arranged 
themselves in an effective tableau, leaning on their levers, four 
on each side of him, their frames swelling and receding with the 
hard breathing consequent upon such unusual exertion. The 
house was frenzied, when, horribile dictu! as the two men stepped 
down, the pipe rolled on the floor with an empty sound which 
told louder than words that there was not over five gallons of 
water in it. 

One of the men who had stood on his breast, in getting down, 
accidentally put his foot on Mr. Rice s hand, and the pain caused 
him to flinch and throw the puncheon out of balance. The bung 
had not been inserted, and the barrel turned so far over that 
its practical emptiness was evident, and Mr. Barnum darted out 
to stop the rolling of the telltale pipe, exclaiming, " By thunder! 
I m sold! " 

The audience surmised at once the state of the case, and re 
turned home to laugh over this exposure, while Mr. Barnum put 
out the lights, ruminating upon the old adage, " There s many a 
slip, etc." The next morning at ten o clock a new poster an 
nounced that 

MR. DAN RICE, 

In consequence of temporary indisposition, 

WILL NOT APPEAR 

at the American Museum 

UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE! 



74 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

Mr. Barnum was thoroughly mortified over this affair, but al 
ways declared that the property men failed to fill the pipe, and 
were, therefore, to blame for the fiasco. In his settlement with 
Barnum Mr. Eice declined to sign a receipt in full, and in ex 
planation he reminded that gentleman that when he, Barnum, 
had been arrested in Pittsburg a year or two previous for sur 
reptitiously removing his own luggage from the Grant House, 
Mr. Rice, then in the livery business, had come to Mr. Barnum s 
rescue. The showman, accompanied by a celebrated jig-dancer, 
Johnny Diamond, was fined seven dollars, the hotel bill and 
costs, in Squire McMasters court. Young Rice had followed 
the crowd in the controversy to hear the proceedings, and, seeing 
Mr. Barnum s plight, in his great-hearted, good-natured way, he 
relieved him from his position by advancing the seven dollars 
which covered the amount required. 

Mr. Barnum at once remembered this generous act when Mr. 
Rice alluded to it in New York, and, handing him a twenty- 
dollar gold piece, remarked, " There, my boy, there s principal 
and interest/ Mr. Barnum was anxious to re-engage Rice, but 
he declined, as he had formed a new engagement which would 
take him across the ocean as an entertainer. 

Mr. Winton, an amusement agent, was in the States at that 
time looking after the united interests of Jenny Lind and Mr. 
Robert L. Fillingham, the English purveyor. While looking 
around, in his business capacity, he saw that Mr. Barnum was 
fast gaining the reputation of being in the supremacy in the 
realm of his pursuits, and, recognizing the fact that Jenny Lind 
would be a brilliant star in this venture, he went to Mr. Barnum 
for the purpose of advancing her interests, but taking great care 
to conceal the fact that he was her special agent. He made a 
private contract to secure the lady if Mr. Barnum would advance 
him ten per cent, of his share of the entire gross receipts, to which 
Mr. Barnum agreed, and thus the bargain was made and sealed 
as Mr. Winton desired. And Barnum failed to see the possibili 
ties of the situation until it was too late. Mr. Winton thus re 
ceived a double percentage by his shrewd adjustment of the cir 
cumstances. It was at this same period that he engaged Mr. 
Rice in the interest of Mr. Fillingham for twenty weeks at one 
hundred dollars a week, including his expenses, as he had wit 
nessed his feats of strength, etc., at the American Museum, and 
on Mr. Winton s return to England Mr. Rice accompanied him to 
fill his contract with Mr. Fillingham. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 75 

CHAPTER X. 

MR. RICE S ARRIVAL IN" EUROPE COMMENCES A STARRING 
TOUR FLATTERING ATTENTION PAID "THE YOUNG AMERI 
CAN HERCULES " CORDIALLY RECEIVED BY PATRONS AT THE 
FOREIGN CAPITALS PERSONALLY INTERVIEWED BY KING 
WILLIAM OF PRUSSIA QUEEN ISABELLA S FAVORITE HER 
DEMOCRATIC INTRIGUES WARNED BY THE AMERICAN CON 
SUL TO LEAVE BARCELONA A SHIP DETAINED SO THAT 
THE ERRATIC SOVEREIGN S LATEST CAVALIER MIGHT RETURN- 
IN SAFETY TO NEW YORK MR. RICE S RETURN FROM 
EUROPE COMMENCES A TOUR IN THE UNITED STATES DIS 
PLAYS FEATS OF STRENGTH IN NEW YORK IN 1842, AND 
VISITS OTHER CITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AN IN 
GENIOUS INCIDENT CONNECTED WITH A MEMBER OF THE 
LEGISLATURE AT HARRISBURG CONTINUED SUCCESSES IN 
DIFFERENT PLACES OF AMUSEMENT. 

OUR young hero was now fairly launched upon the sea of 
success, and the name he had sought in so many unsuccess 
ful efforts was at last in his possession, and his life from this time 
on was destined to be a continuous round of applause that fol 
lowed him on both sides of the Atlantic. No future effort that 
he made, when once he became recognized in the world of enter 
tainment, but unfolded a wealth of advantage for his almost 
charmed life. Experience enriches with practical lessons every 
phase in life, and creates an education by its own contrasts with 
out the preparatory accomplishments of theory; but when both 
are combined, a precocious mind is fortified for the inevitable 
obstacles that are strewn in the path of life s destiny. Thus it 
proved in the life of Dan Rice in the subsequent adventures that 
gave breadth to his developing character and enlarged his views 
by critical contrasts. After perfecting his plans for his journey, 
Mr. Rice, in company with Mr. Winton, sailed from New York 
to England early in 1842, and spent five months in giving his 
entertainment in London and other important cities, and also in 
Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dublin. He spent some time in Paris, 
and also visited Alenna, Berlin, Madrid, and Barcelona. It was 
at the last series of exhibitions in Barcelona that Mr. Rice at 
tracted the favor of that remarkable woman, Queen Isabella of 
Spain, that personage then being in the first flush of her charms. 
Barcelona was reached in the early autumn, and was the last city 



76 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

on the tour. No American entertainer had as yet had the hardi 
hood to visit the country of the hidalgos, and the arrival of Mr. 
Rice created the nearest approach to a sensation of which the 
stately demeanor of the nation was capable. On the occasion of 
the opening night Queen Isabella came to the Royal Theatre, as 
it was her custom to do on " first nights," and occupied the royal 
box. Perhaps her intriguing propensities were in this instance 
employed for the purpose of improving the personnel of her 
army, for she was ever on the alert for recruits of stalwart phy 
sique and handsome personal proportions. In young Rice she 
seemed to think she had found an additional attraction. The 
applause from the royal box during the performance was an 
unusual incident which attracted universal attention, and the 
audience therefore applauded more vigorously. Assuming one 
character after another, the young American looked, in every 
instance, the roles he impersonated of Hercules, Ajax, Apollo, 
and Milo, and the next morning all Barcelona was commenting 
on the appearance of the young athlete and his exhibitions. After 
the curtain had fallen on the evening s pleasure Mr. Rice was 
summoned to the royal box and presented to the queen. She re 
ceived him most graciously, and was disposed to question him as 
to his family, his history, and his marvellous strength, which she 
declared she desired tested in private. In arranging the hour for 
the private interview she presented to Mr. Rice a rose from her 
corsage bouquet, requesting him to keep it until they met again. 
The meeting was not long deferred, for scarcely had Mr. Rice 
arrived at his hotel before an equerry from the royal apartments 
was announced, with an invitation for him to come to the queen 
and partake -with her at lunch. He prepared himself for the 
occasion, for such an invitation from such a source was tanta 
mount to a command, and on his arrival was surprised to find that 
the lunch party consisted only of Queen Isabella and himself. 
The lady, after dismissing her private attendants, received her 
guest with a democratic simplicity rarely revealed under similar 
circumstances on this side of the Atlantic; therefore Mr. Rice 
was, in a short time, as much at ease as if he were being enter 
tained by one of his own countrywomen. Her English, though 
defective, was not unintelligible, while Mr. Rice s Spanish con 
sisted merely of expressive gesticulation. The situation being 
entirely unsought on the part of Mr. Rice, was a source of private 
amusement to his venturesome undertaking, but the lady did not 
close the interview until after the early morning hours had ad 
vanced, when she herself summoned the equerry to reconduct 
her new favorite to his hotel. Mr. Rice was as verdant as any 
young man of his age who had led his adventurous life could be, 
but he did not, in his wildest dreams, aspire to posing in the eyes 



11EM1NISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 77 

of the Spanish people as even an ally to royalty. The next even 
ing, and still the next, he was summoned to lunch with Isabella, 
and sat in her boudoir partaking of the tempting viands, listen 
ing to her Castilian English and indulging in private comments 
as to the object of this curious woman, the first in the realm, in 
conducting herself on such democratic principles that were so 
foreign to the demands of court life. But historical revelations 
have since solved the problems of this human enigma, at which 
the eyes of all Europe have looked with undisguised scorn. The 
queen was a good judge of wine, but with all her efforts at in 
triguing she could not succeed in persuading Mr. Eice to take 
anything stronger than coffee, as he informed her that it inter 
fered with his feats of strength, and he was obliged to keep in 
training. The results were invariably the same at each inter 
view, and, when she dismissed him, she summoned the same 
equerry to conduct her guest to his hotel in a carriage. On the 
morning of the fourth day after the exhibition at Barcelona Mr. 
Rice was surprised to receive a personal call from the American 
consul, who invited him to drive to the consulate. When that 
gentleman first entered Mr. Bice s apartments his face wore an 
anxious expression, as if he would not have been surprised to 
find our hero missing, and he so expressed himself. In the 
course of conversation with the young performer at the consulate 
he remarked, " You would not like an army life here, I think." 
" I do not think so," said Mr. Rice in reply. " Well," continued 
the gentleman, " judging from what I have heard about the fate 
of Queen Isabella s favorites, an army life is about the most agree 
able thing that ever befalls them. Sometimes they are not seen 
again after their consignment to the military ranks. Listen to 
my advice, which I hope you will act upon, for it may save you 
from serious complications. The Espanola, a Spanish ship bound 
for New York, is to sail to-morrow. I will see her captain and 
use my influence to have her hold over until you can arrange 
your affairs to sail home on her. Don t you think you had better 
do it? " There was some disposition on the part of Mr. Rice to 
evade the responsibilities of his position, as he had formed an 
other appointment with her majesty, but wisely considering the 
advice of the consul, he closed his performance that night and 
sailed the next morning, without apprising any one of his inten 
tions, the arrangement having previously been consummated by 
the consul for an urgent passenger. So ended an international 
romance. 

Queen Isabella at that period was a stout and rather fine-look 
ing young woman, with a penchant for bestowing gifts upon those 
whom she favored. Upon persuading Mr. Rice to accept some 
token from her, he selected only a heavy braided silken fillet, 



78 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

which was used in tying her abundant black hair. All other 
gifts, both costly and rare, which she persistently thrust upon 
him, he invariably refused, but the fillet he kept for a short time 
as a memento. The lady s tender recollections of Mr. Rice, 
which he also shares, will be shown later on in the circus experi 
ence. 

Queen Isabella was not the only sovereign who manifested a 
personal interest in Mr. Rice. King William of Prussia, after 
ward the beloved Emperor of Germany, while on a visit to the 
Austrian court, on the occasion of Mr. Rice s opening in Vienna, 
attended the exhibition and sat in the royal box. He sent for 
the hero of those herculean feats of strength after the perform 
ance, and inquired personally if he really did raise two thousand 
one hundred pounds dead weight or whether it was all a trick, 
to all of which questions it was a pleasure for Mr. Rice to reply. 
And we may safely judge that he was becomingly elated when 
the king and his private officers admired his physical proportions 
and commented freely on the athletic performances in which he 
Is bored to excel. 

The wily intrigues of the Spanish queen being foiled by the 
timely intervention of our worthy American consul, Mr. Rice 
arrived in New York in due time without any further adventure, 
and having occasion to feel grateful, as he has since expressed, 
for his fortunate escape from a bondage that would probably 
have resulted seriously. 

About this time the arrival in the United States of M. Paul, 
the French Hercules, directed popular attention specially toward 
manifestations of physical prowess. Mr. Rice s whole life and 
training had tended to make him one of the strongest men of his 
time, a discovery he had not been slow to make, and his reputa 
tion as a modern Hercules was now established in Europe as well 
as in America, and he adapted himself accordingly. The 
" Learned Pig " tour had given him the zest of popular applause, 
the love of being with and among people, a social characteristic 
even to the present time, and he had become an adept in manag 
ing public assemblies, no mean coadjutor in the success of show 
men. 

So, on his return to New York, he retraced the ground over 
which he had passed. Thousands who had suspected collusion 
between the " Learned Pig " and its master would rush to see 
the same youth pull against four horses, particularly as the per 
mission contained in the bills that the audience might furnish 
the horses precluded the possibility of an illicit understanding. 
Other similar feats now, from their frequency, exciting little 
surprise, were then exposed first to the bewildered eyes of the 
public. 




RICE IN COSTUME OF STAI5S AND STUIPES AT NEW ORLEANS, 1861 



EEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 79 

His old employer, Phineas Taylor, still had his "Battle of 
Bunker Hill " show in Broadway, and prevailed upon Mr. 
Eice, immediately upon his arrival in New York, to play an en 
gagement of two weeks, which he did successfully to crowded 
houses. 

On his tour west from the metropolis he had a remarkable ad 
venture at Harrisburg. The legislature was in session, and a 
highly exciting political debate engrossed so completely public 
attention that his exhibition did not draw. Even the introduc 
tion of a set-to with George Kensett, the famous pugilist, who 
was sojourning for a few days at the Pennsylvania capital, did 
little toward replenishing his coffers. The next day, when the 
vexatious debate had reached his climax, in which personal in 
vective made a resort to arms not improbable, and a few lessons 
from Eice and Kensett not undesirable, the hotels and corridors 
were plastered with a placard announcing " to the citizens of 
Harrisburg and the members of the legislature, another exhibi 
tion of the 

NOBLE AND MANLY AET OF SELF-DEFENCE! 
Interspersed with Songs, Comic, Ethiopian, and Sentimental, 

to be concluded with a 
PASSAGE AT AEMS AND SET-TO 
Between Mr. Eice and the Distinguished 
MEMBEE OF THE LEGISLATUEE! 

Who desires his name to be withheld until he enters the lists, 
when of course all will recognize him, and learn those most un 
pleasant circumstances which have, in his opinion, rendered it 
his duty to resort to the practice and learning of this mode of 
warfare." 

What the singer and boxer could not do the " distinguished 
member of the legislature " did do he filled the house to over 
flowing. Members of both houses of legislation and politicians 
anticipated some rich exposure, from the hints thrown out in 
the placard. A resolution was almost carried tendering to the 
two distinguished boxers the use of the assembly chamber for the 
proposed sparring exhibition. The hall was crowded to its ut 
most capacity with ladies longing to see the handsome " Her 
cules " and dreaming of the days of chivalry and tournament. 
The politicians came, more out of curiosity than anything else, 
to see what member of the legislature was going to make a spec- 



80 REMINISCENCES OP DAN RICE 

tacle of himself. The programme was carefully gone through 
down to the last act, viz: 

A SET-TO BETWEEN A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLA 
TURE AND MR. DAN RICE. 

Here of course the whole audience were upon the qui vive. 
After a few moments,, which suspense magnified into an hour, 
Mr. Rice stepped forth attired in the most approved fashion, and, 
after bowing, with a glance around the room, stood as if in ex 
pectation. Soon he assumed an indignant mien and, stepping 
toward the audience with another bow and with the air of an 
injured man, said: 

" Ladies and Gentlemen: I had trusted that at this late mo 
ment the coming forward of the gentleman whose appearance was 
announced this morning would save me from the humiliating 
necessity of making an apology. Though surprised at his non- 
appearance when the entertainment began, I trusted he was for 
tifying himself for the set-to and would now redeem his engage 
ment. I did not believe a man who enjoyed the confidence of the 
citizens of one of the richest counties in the State would conde 
scend to practise this vile imposition upon you and upon me. 
Such unworthy conduct shall not succeed, and if he is now among 
you, I warn him to retrieve himself by coming to the scene of 
action at once, or impose the humiliating self-infliction of apolo 
gizing to the audience." 

Here a dozen voices shouted "His name! His name!" "Give 
us his name! " 

Then continued Mr. Rice: 

"Ladies and Gentlemen, have charity enough to hope he is 
ill, or has been unexpectedly called away, and therefore I must 
beg of you the indulgence of being permitted to withhold his 
name until to-morrow morning. Then, if he does not see fit to ac 
count to you forthwith for this strange proceeding, I pledge you 
my word and honor" here followed a deferential bow that 
would make the fortune of an office-seeker or dancing master 
" to publish his name. What more than this to say I do not 
know. I have been cruelly deceived, and am overwhelmed with 
my painful situation." 

" No matter, Dan; " " Publish the rascal to-morrow, Dan," and 
" Serve him right," " Don t "be frightened, Mr. Rice " (from a 
lady), " We are all satisfied," proceeded simultaneously from half 
the people present, and all arose and noiselessly left the room, 
wondering who could be the recreant member. 

That night a dozen choice spirits from both houses of the legis 
lature, who for several days before had thrown aside politics and 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 81 

deserted their seats, on discovering the mine of fun Mr. Rice 
afforded, were speechless with laughter when our hero explained, 
what the reader had doubtless expected, that the honorable mem 
ber of the legislature existed only in his imagination, and was 
an ingenious device to procure the means for such suppers as 
they were then eating. The next morning, of course, the 
story went broadcast, and the laughter on all sides, like oil upon 
water, arrested the angry discussions among the sages at the 
Capitol. 

The tour thereafter was successful, and Mr. Eice played in the 
Pittsburg Theatre, owned by the Simpsons; in Shire s Garden, 
managed by William Shire; in Cincinnati, on the site of what is 
now the Burnet House; in Louisville, at the Jefferson Street 
Theatre; in St. Louis at Ludlow & Smith s old St. Louis Theatre, 
and so also to Quincy, Nauvoo, and the Western circuit. 



CHAPTER XL 

RICE AS A REVIVALIST HIS ADVENT AMONG THE MORMONS 
ASSUMES THE ROLE OF PREACHER AND MAKES CONVERTS 
FOR THE FAITHFUL JOSEPH SMITH S MIRACLE AND HOW 
MR. RICE DEFEATED IT MR. RICE NARROWLY ESCAPES EX 
TREME MEASURES AT THE HANDS OF CITIZENS OF MONTROSE 
DIFFICULTIES ADJUSTED BY A HAPPY COMPROMISE CON 
TROVERSY BETWEEN MR. RICE AND SMITH REGARDING 
FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT THE MORMON PROPHET WALKING 
ON THE WATER LUDICROUS RESULTS MR. RICE AGAIN A 
SHOWMAN POSES AS A MESMERIST HYPNOTIZES A HOSTLER 
AND THUS DEFEATS A RIVAL THE NOVEL WAY IN WHICH 
HE PAID HIS LICENSES AT DAVENPORT AND ROCK ISLAND 
AMUSING SEQUEL. 

"VTAUVOO, ILL., the home of the Mormons, was then in its 
-LN palmy days, and some ten thousand souls were held in 
spiritual subjection by the "prophet," and at this place, Mr. Rice 
rightly calculated, was an abundant field for his labors. He 
argued, reasonably enough, that in a community where the trans 
parent pretexts of Joseph Smith were swallowed with avidity, his 
apparently superhuman accomplishments might well make him 
f am OUR, particularly as the lucky thought occurred to him that 
he and Smith would make a pretty strong team professionally. 
Joseph Smith readily grasped at a chance for a new miracle, now 
6 



82 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

that his old dodges had become somewhat stale, and his flock 
thirsted for some new manifestations of divine partiality. He 
easily yielded to Mr. Rice s terms for a copartnership, which 
involved an equal distribution of the spoils arising from the con 
nection, and it was not hard to demonstrate, to such an in 
genious schemer as Smith, that they could be made something 
handsome. 

Mr. Rice did not demur to the stipulation in the arrangements 
that the elect should redound to the sole use and behoof of the 
" prophet/ as he had received sufficient evidence that such was 
the intention of the proprietor of the Nauvoo mansion, of which 
the " prophet " was the landlord, and in that way Mr. Rice was 
enlightened, as he was constantly with him. But what were 
those remarkable feats of strength which were heralded to the 
elect as -miracles? Mr. Smith was too old a practitioner to be 
caught with flimsy material; besides, he would not enter into this 
compact without testing Mr. Rice s powers in private, to which 
exhibition of his skill he was perfectly willing. At the rehearsal 
in the presence of the " prophet " two horses were called into use, 
and were unable to dislodge " The Modern Samson " from a 
workbench upon which he had hastily fastened himself; nor could 
the " prophet " break with a sledge the back doorstep of stone 
which, with the assistance of his wife, he managed to place on 
Mr. Rice s abdomen as he extended himself on all fours. The 
" prophet " was in ecstasies, which were by no means lessened 
by our hero s catching up the tongs as he again entered the room 
and, on his bare arm, bending the double irons into a semicircle. 
This last feat Mr. Rice threw in for effect, and Smith and his 
wife, in alarm, began to intercede for the rest of the furniture, 
not doubting but that he would pull the building down about 
their heads. Here was a California mine for Smith, out of which 
he would be able to replenish his exhausted treasury, impose a 
tax in a less obnoxious form than a direct levy, and rivet his hold 
on the blind confidence of the people in a manner that would 
thereafter make it blasphemy to question his direct communica 
tion with the Almighty. 

In two hours, as might have been expected with two such able 
projectors, their plans were matured. It was noised about that 
the morrow would bring a new and still more imposing evidence 
of the "prophet s" divine endowments that a poor wayfarer 
had been guided by the spirit to go to him and say, " Behold 
your unworthy servant! The Spirit has admonished me at 
divers times and in sundry places to proceed to the prophet 
of the faithful and submit myself to his guidance. Moreover, 
the Spirit commands me to say, In me shall be fulfilled 
miracles! And whatsoever thou commandest thy servant to do, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 83 

even to the performance of acts impossible to man, it shall be 
done/ r - 

The " prophet " himself proclaimed from the foot of the tem 
ple, which had already progressed above its foundations, that at 
12 o clock the next day this ministering agent from the Al 
mighty would appear as an humble instrument for the manifesta 
tion of divine power, to encourage the faithful in their labor on 
the temple, and that all the city on such a memorable occasion 
should contribute twenty-five cents. Mr. Eice here quietly sug 
gested to Smith the advisability of admitting children at half- 
prico. " Children, too," the " prophet " added, after a little 
hesitation, " might be imbued with the holy spirit, upon the 
contribution of twelve and a half cents, and come in to see these 
miracles." 

Dense was the throng in front of the temple as the hour ap 
proached. On his way up from the tavern Mr. Eice observed 
that all the houses appeared to be disgorging their occupants; 
from this he foresaw a harvest that would mark a new era in his 
financial affairs, to say nothing of Smith s spiritual career. The 
" prophet s " Council meanwhile, prudently unaware of the pro 
posals of the prophetic humbug, marked his mysterious prepara 
tions with anxiety. The ladies eyed him askance, and without 
any hesitancy openly admired his manly proportions and muscu 
lar appearance. The thousands of spectators who gathered, 
awaiting with breathless interest the phenomenon, were prepared 
to see any improbable miraculous manifestation, even, almost, to 
the descent of Jehovah himself in a cloud of flame. A storm 
hovered portentously over the horizon as the crowd proceeded, 
in awe, to deposit their quarters in the " Baptismal Font," hewn 
out of solid stone and guarded by the " prophet " himself. This 
financial operation finished, Mr. Eice and the " prophet " stepped 
forth together; a deep silence prevailed, uninterrupted even by 
the cries of the children, who could be counted by hundreds, 
their deluded parents trusting that, perchance, they might brush 
the hem of the divine agent s garments. 

A hundred willing workmen, at the " prophet s " command, 
brought forth a ladder, trestles, and a pair of dray horses which 
had been in use in the construction of the temple. 

The ladder, being firmly fastened, horizontally, to the trestles, 
with Mr. Eice extended at full length, his hands and feet firmly 
fixed on the rungs, the horses were attached to a rope which 
Smith had brought coiled about his arm, and which was now 
adjusted to the shoulders and the loins of this new proselyte 
to Mormonism. At the signal the powerful horses extended 
their traces and, leaning in their collars, made a noble effort to 
tear Mr. Eice from his fastenings, which, it is hardly necessary 



84 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

to say, they would have succeeded in doing had they not been 
compelled to pull at a disadvantage. 

But for the awe that, at the manifestation of the spirit, con 
strained them, the whole mass would have fallen down and wor 
shipped the " prophet/ 7 who was supposed to have conferred this 
great power upon the young man. 

At another command, a score of hands were extended with 
alacrity to place a building stone upon Rice s breast as he as 
sumed the familiar position, and a pair of stalwart mechanics 
soon broke the stone into fragments with their ponderous sledges. 
Then, shaking off the debris, he nimbly resumed his upright posi 
tion, the rocks rolling from him on either side. 

In another moment a bar of inch iron was brought from the 
smithy of the temple and bent nearly double across the naked arm 
of the youthful giant, protected as it was by the knotted muscles, 
now contracted in rigid tension. 

With the same expedition a strong rope was detached from the 
hoisting tackle used in the temple, one end secured around a 
vast pile of building stone and the other to Mr. Rice, as he again 
extended himself on the ladder, still firmly resting on trestles. 
Rung by rung, he slowly advanced in this hempen collar until, 
reaching the far end of the ladder, the rope could stretch no 
more, and parted like flax. 

This was the climax to the day s wonders, and the infatuated 
crowd returned to their houses to commune about the miracles 
and glorify their " prophet." Mr. Rice, with Smith, repaired to 
the sanctum of the latter in the hotel, where the receipts of the 
exhibition had been previously sent, but which had mysteriously 
diminished since being deposited in the font, so Mr. Rice thought. 
He received for his share six hundred dollars, not, however, with 
out being obliged to threaten the " prophet " with a little private 
exhibition of his strength for pretending to compute the half of 
twelve hundred to be five hundred. The evidence of Rice s 
powers that day had been too palpable to permit Smith long to 
persist in such a dangerous mathematical error. 

From this moment the " prophet " perceived that Mr. Rice was 
a shining light who could not be dispensed with in his cabinet 
especially, for the " prophet " found that he could not only sing 
a capital song and crack jokes by the hour, which no one enjoyed 
better than Smith, but he could also preach with a zeal and 
fervor that was calculated to bring hundreds into the fold of 
this great shepherd. At the same time they commenced a run 
ning account of money and sentiment, in which Rice, indeed, 
was imprudent enough to suffer himself to be the greatest cred 
itor, with the ultimate hope that by some coup de main he could 
aspire to the same exalted position as was enjoyed by his able 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 85 

coadjutor. For lie was now sure of the unlimited control he 
could easily gain over this body of fanatics. Feigned revela 
tions were daily made in connection with occult practices that 
would have consigned him to the stake in the reign of Xew 
England witchcraft, and in these he brought to bear an intimate 
knowledge of chemistry and of legerdemain, as well as tact in 
controlling an audience. 

It was not long before Smith began to apprehend serious re 
sults following Mr. Rice s increasing influence, and thought it 
expedient to dispatch him on a pilgrimage to Iowa, to make 
proselytes, under the plausible pretext that no one else could 
undertake the task with such a prospect of achieving it. Mr. 
Rice met with great success in his role as preacher until he 
reached Montrose, just across the river from Xauvoo. There 
he performed his " miraculous feats of strength " after a sermon, 
which made a powerful sensation. 

But several St. Louis merchants, who were returning from 
the Eastern States, where they had witnessed M. Paul s perform 
ances, exposed the pretended Mormon s miracles. This so ex 
asperated the crowd, many of whom had subsequently assisted 
in driving the Mormons out of the State of Missouri, as Governor 
Reynolds murder had been charged to their account, that in the 
short time required for such proceedings in that country a suffi 
ciency of tar and feathers and a reasonably angular rail were 
prepared. Our hero s danger was most imminent. He was in 
the hands of those who felt no particular compunctions about 
administering such doses on account of his assumed clerical ap 
pearance. The multitude surrounded him too effectually to 
afford any prospect of success in an attempt at flight. He felt 
that he could overpower a dozen of the strongest, but to be vic 
torious with a multitude would be a veritable hecatomb. His 
active mind, cool even during these intimidating proceedings, 
at once decided that tact and ingenuity alone could save him. 
Confidence in himself imbued him with courage to trust to diplo 
macy. " Let me sing you a song," he shouted, " and afterward 
do your pleasure with me! " Being thus urged, they halted in 
their proceedings. " A song from the Mormon, a song from the 
preacher! " was satirically echoed on every side. 

Mounting the top of the tar barrel, so as to obtain a view of the 
whole assemblage for in the disturbance he had been forced 
from his temporary pulpit he commenced improvising a comic 
song, narrating with such irresistible humor how he had 
duped the Mormons, and dwelling so pathetically upon his 
ridiculous situation, that long before he had hoped to succeed 
the whole multitude joined with him in the singing, each person 
having already mentally decided to forgive him. The music and 



bG KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

the rhythm were probably not so mellifluous as the extempore 
songs with which he has since regaled his audiences., but were the 
more effective upon his rough auditors for being so unpolished. 
An eyewitness now residing in Keokuk describes the scene as 
most exciting. Each man present, unconscious of the determina 
tion of his neighbor to save the recent object of their vengeance, 
began to feel almost as much concern as Mr. Rice himself had 
lately felt. But Eice, however, who could read their faces, and 
had already discovered his safety in their plaudits, ceased singing 
for a moment to tell them, if they would carry away that ugly 
rail, barrel of tar, and basket of feathers, he would give them an 
extempore show. 

There was no disguising the fact that they had a jolly time, 
and the people dispersed pleased with the performance, and 
Mr. Eice with a feeling of gratitude that his tact had preserved 
him from the humiliating ordeal that so nearly proved being a 
reality. This episode, happening so near Nauvoo, must, in the 
course of events, reach the Mormon " prophet " very soon, so 
Mr. Eice crossed the river at once and hastened to Smith s house 
to demand a settlement, not only of money loaned, but of his 
salary as preacher at fifty dollars per month and expenses. His 
pretext for the settlement was the auspicious opening to make 
a new start and gain converts along the borders of Missouri and 
Iowa. Mr. Eice subsequently learned that Smith had been prac 
tising many expedients during his absence to regain his tottering 
sway as the only worker of miracles. One of these was to be per 
formed on some indefinite morning yet undecided, when, at sun 
rise, he was to walk for fifty yards on the waters of the Mississippi. 
Mr. Eice found the Mormon prophet ready to receive him on 
his arrival. Little averse to a rupture with our hero now that 
he had advertised a miracle to be performed by himself, Smith, 
on this occasion, carried his false computations into practice with 
success, and cheated Mr. Eice shamefully in that settlement. 
But as he could not hope to meet Smith alone and secure a proper 
adjustment, he was fain to express himself satisfied with the por 
tion of the consideration offered by Smith, determining eventu 
ally, however, to get even. This idea of walking on the water, 
had been, in fact, a plan of Mr. Eice s, suggested by him to the 
prophet on his first arrival, and was to be effected by the con 
struction of a narrow, raised gangway of planks placed ankle-deep 
under the water so as not to be detected, and he had no doubt 
but that sudh was the way in which Smith proposed to accomplish 
this newly advertised miracle. Early in the afternoon of the 
day preceding that finally decided upon for the feat to be ac 
complished, Mr. Eice was ferried over to Montrose, ostensibly on 
his mission to Missouri. In the course of the night, however. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 87 

he returned stealthily,, and with a skiff rowed out into the river, 
and, groping where the platform was laid, took up and carried 
away a section of thirty feet from the shore. The next morning, 
in his high-priestly robes, the prophet walked out to the river 
brink in the presence of an immense concourse of people. The 
great miracle was again announced with imposing ceremony, and 
he started out to walk on the water. The crowds of people from 
the entire city had been waiting patiently since early dawn in 
eager anticipation. Mr. Eice, far out in the stream, and in dis 
guise, sat in a small boat watching the ceremonies. It had been 
originally arranged between Eice and Smith that the prophet 
should walk out thirty-five paces, counting as he went, so as not 
to come to the end of the submerged gangway unexpectedly. 
Confidence was apparent on his visage as the prophet made his 
thirtieth step, when the section Mr. Eice had eliminated failed to 
support his holy feet and he went down into the depths of the 
icy flood. A universal shout of surprise went up from the crowds 
on the shore, but Mr. Rice s peals of laughter were distinctly 
audible as he rowed back to Montrose. The Mormon prophet 
being speedily rescued by his followers from his perilous situa 
tion, he suffered the humiliation of having this so-called miracle 
exposed by the practical joke of a man who had taken desperate 
chances of opening the eyes of a deluded following to a sense of 
the hallucinations under which they were laboring for the ag 
grandizement of their peculiar religious calling. 

On escaping from his Mormon surroundings, Rice the preacher 
became a showman again and took the first boat down the Mis 
sissippi to the town of Quincy, 111. Here, after engaging the hall 
over a cooper shop which had been prepared for amateur per 
formances, he dispensed with his conventional garb and donned 
the necessary paraphernalia for his legitimate business. In vain, 
however, did he put out his most attractive bills and insert the 
most glowing cards in the weekly journal, for Professor Boone- 
ville was lecturing there on Animal Magnetism, and engrossed 
the public attention. The first night our hero s audience con 
sisted merely of himself, his doorkeeper and fiddler, three families 
who had complimentary tickets, and a ragged urchin who had 
begged in at half-price. 

At this rate the season was likely to be most disastrous in a 
financial way and his inventive genius was sorely taxed to coun 
teract the " Magnetic Booneville " current so strongly set in 
against him, so the following day the village was thrown into 
unusual excitement. The streets were placarded with an an 
nouncement that Mr. Rice, in addition to his already ad 
vertised feats to numerous to mention, which were performed 
to the 



88 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

"DELIGHTED ELITE! 

Of Quincy last night, will to-night 

EXPOSE MESMERISM! 

And the charlatanism of 

PROFESSOR BOONEVILLE, 

And by a new science,, much more wonderful and practical 
than ANIMAL MAGNETISM 

Make in one minute a 
PAIR OF SHOES WORTH ONE DOLLAR! " 

Consternation seized the professor and great was the excite 
ment among the beau monde. At seven o clock Mr. Rice s doors 
were thronged., and at half-past seven he had the pleasure of see 
ing the professor himself come down the street and buy a ticket, 
a sure evidence that this time it was the professor s turn to have 
deserted rooms. After a running address, with practical illus 
trations and herculean feats, he proceeded to say: 

"Ladies and Gentlemen: I have prefaced my evening s enter 
tainment with a selection of novelties that I see you are pleased 
with, but as humbugging is all the rage, I could not finish the 
evening without giving you a spice of its quality. I am now 
about to make a pair of shoes in one minute, worth a dollar." 

He produced a pair of boots, cut them off at the ankle, and, 
making an incision down the front, with a punch made holes and 
placed strings therein, all the while talking. 

Which operation being completed, he held them up to the 
inspection of the audience with the remark, " And I appeal to 
you if I have not so far redeemed the pledge I made in the bills 
this morning? I will proceed to expose human magnetism. 
Come here, Patrick/ This summons was addressed to the 
hostler of the Quincy House, who was Booneville s best subject, 
whom Mr. Rice had bribed during the day for two dollars, twice 
the amount the professor gave him. A sensation was per 
ceptible in the professor, as well as in the audience, when Patrick, 
who was well known, stood up. Pat had been unquestionably 
magnetized by the professor, and was not cunning enough to con 
spire with anybody. When Mr. Rice placed him upon the stage 
he had not yet settled in his mind how he, Rice, would ridicule 
the professor s science, but trusted to his wits, which had never 
yet failed to get him creditably out of a dilemma. After a few 
preliminary passes and manipulations, done precisely as he had 
seen Booneville do, Pat closed his eyes and was pronounced 



BEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 89 

asleep. Then in imitation of the professor, Mr. Rice went 
through many amusing evolutions, himself surprised more than 
any one else at Pat s ready obedience and in a quandary as to the 
successful ending of the burlesque. He was half inclined to 
believe himself that he had somehow unconsciously imbibed this 
subtle and mysterious power. Causing Pat to follow his hand 
slowly backward and forwards over the stage, while collecting 
his now really disturbed thoughts, his eye caught the stove in the 
miniature orchestra at the bottom of the stage, to which there 
were no footlights. Walking quietly that way with the Irishman 
still following the extended finger, he stepped noiselessly one 
side when in a straight line with the stove. In an instant Pat 
was precipitated upon it with a tremendous crash. Eubbing his 
cheeks and his hands which were smarting with the burns as well 
as his ribs with the fall, Patrick, to his inexpressible relief, threw 
the audience into convulsions by exclaiming, " Be Jabers, I 
wasn t asleep at all, at all." 

With a look of defiance at Mr. Rice he rushed from the house 
in high dudgeon and in the midst of vociferous shouts. 

It seems the honest Irishman thought it necessary, in order to 
earn his two dollars, to feign sleep when he found it would not 
come in the usual way. He had been able to obey Dan s signals 
with his eyes closed by recollecting the rules of the professor, in 
such cases made and provided, whom Mr. Rice imitated exactly, 
until in walking down the stage he depended too implicitly upon 
the hitherto faithful ear. Then followed his startling fall, and 
the fiasco got Rice out of his predicament. Of course this started 
a tide of ridicule which the professor could not stem, and his 
departure the next day left Mr. Rice in sole possession of the field. 

His next adventure on his tour was his famous visit to the 
beautiful village of Davenport on the upper Mississippi, in Iowa, 
which was then a territory. His inimitable social qualities soon 
made him the favorite of Mr. Miller, the prominent merchant 
of the village, as well as the courteous host of La Claire House, 
and also formed the friendship of La Claire, a noted Indian 
chief who resided in that place. The friendship contracted with 
these gentlemen, as well as with other prominent citizens of the 
town, has always been preserved with mutual pleasure, and to-day 
their descendants are as marked in their approval of the rare per 
formances of the Dan Rice of later years as their ancestors were 
in the scenes of his struggles in those early days. 

On the occasion of his visit here, Mr. Rice advertised an exhi 
bition which filled the dining-room of the hotel. Generous liv 
ing, however, made heavy demands upon his purse, and his in 
debtedness already equalled the aggregate of his receipts, and still 
there was yet the license to pay. The license that was imposed, 



90 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

he, in common with the community, thought exorbitant, and it 
was a question, indeed, whether it could be demanded for the 
kind of exhibition he proposed to give. Therefore he felt in 
clined to resist the payment, but if the collector felt disposed, as 
he did, to enforce it, then Mr. Rice felt equal to the emergency 
by indulging in a little pardonable temporizing to evade it; there 
fore, on various pretexts, payment of the license had been post 
poned until the performance was over. 

On returning to the hotel and making an estimate of his re 
sources, he found it necessary to put off either his hotel or license 
bill. To relieve himself of the perplexity, which an argument 
of the matter would have involved, he paid his hotel bill aiid sent 
for the ferryman who plied between Davenport and Rock Island. 
To him he agreed to give two dollars and a half if he would have 
his boat ready at the shore all night to ferry him across at a mo 
ment s notice. As soon as the collector suspected that Mr. Rice 
intended to evade payment, he placed in the hands of the con 
stable a warrant for his arrest for exhibiting without a license. 
Rice, under the guise of subterfuge, told the constable that he 
would remit him the money from Rock Island, where he was an 
nounced to exhibit the next evening, but the constable demurred 
and prepared to arrest him. Mr. Rice stepped back a pace and, 
warning the officer not to approach him, shouldered his carpet 
bag, which had been previously packed, and walked out of the 
door as the crowd in the rear made way for him. The constable 
called on all good citizens to assist him in arresting a man who was 
" resisting the law," but as all had witnessed his " feats of 
strength " at the exhibition, no one was willing to expose him 
self to the encounter. A colossal, two-fisted countryman, to 
whom a more direct appeal was made by the constable, replied 
with indignation, " Do you suppose I want to touch a Samson? " 

Mr. Rice rejected the intervention of his friends who proposed 
to go on his bail, and persisted in making his way to the river, a 
short distance away. The crowd followed him down to the 
boat, accompanied by the constable who was inclined to keep at 
a respectful distance from Mr. Rice, for he had turned to him 
when he thought he encroached too near with the threatening 
inquiry whether " he expected to breakfast in the bosom of his 
family or in that of Father Abraham s, on the morrow?" 

In this way he reached the river where the faithful boatman 
was ready with his oars. But even here the posse could not 
muster the courage to rush upon him, so he stepped deliberately 
in the boat, deposited his baggage in the bow, adjusted his dress, 
removed his hat, and, bidding adieu to his friends whose faces 
be recognized in the moonlight, he made a sardonic speech to the 
collector and his coterie. The crowd enjoyed the discomfiture 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 91 

of the constable and the bravery of the showman and involun 
tarily joined in prolonged cheers which accompanied Rice half 
way across the river. 

Much anxiety was felt, however, about the safety of the brave 
young man; indeed, the boatman himself declared the tide was 
too strong, but Mr. Rice coolly informed him that he would im 
pose upon him the penalty of drowning if he did not proceed, 
so the manipulation of the oars was conducted at once. 

At Rock Island he also had some misgivings as to whether he 
could again evade the license, but the news of his victory over 
the Davenport authorities had preceded him and produced un 
bounded satisfaction, so great was the rivalry between the two 
places. The village authorities to whom he applied upon the 
subject of lowering the license, good-humoredly replied that 
" their minimum price was twenty-five dollars, and that he was 
at liberty to play them a trick, as he did in Davenport, if he 
could." This set his wits to work, and was an incentive to spur 
him on again to escape the license, even though the receipts 
would justify him in the payment of so large a sum. A dozen 
different versions of the affair on the opposite side of the river 
were current, and he was the absorbing topic of the day. The 
excitement increased towards night, and the doors of Barrett s 
hotel were thronged early by the crowds, and the authorities had 
decided that he must pay the license before he exhibited. Mr. 
Rice was at the door, collecting the admission fees, when the 
collector approached him with the license. The hallway was 
full of people going in, and Mr. Rice said to the officer, " All 
right, sir; step in and take a seat while I attend to these people 
and I will pay you before the performance commences." Sup 
posing that he had not yet rendered himself amenable and that 
he intended to pay the license out of the money he was then re 
ceiving, the officer passed on with the rest and took a seat, wait 
ing for Mr. Rice to notify him when the performance was to 
begin. Mr. Rice had discovered that the rush had subsided, or 
rather that he was precluded from taking any more money by 
the room being already filled to its utmost capacity. He asked the 
officer who had the license prepared to take his place at the door 
a moment while he went in to start the music and count the 
money. As he walked from the door through the side aisle with 
his hat under his arm, the audience cheered him and the ladies 
were at once captivated by his appearance and enlisted in his 
favor. As he passed behind the blanket, borrowed of Barrett 
for a curtain, the utmost silence prevailed excepting the music 
of the orchestra, which consisted of one violin played by the negro 
barber of the town. After five minutes breathless suspense, the 
more daring ventured upon a few thumps with their canes. The 



92 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

solitary fiddler scraped with redoubled fury. Stamping, hand- 
clapping, and encouraging cheers soon drowned the desperate 
din of the lone violin. The officer at the door peeped in to see 
if it was not applause greeting Mr. Rice s initial act. Although 
he thought sufficient time had passed for his return, still he did 
not like to desert the responsible post with which he was en 
trusted. At this moment a curious little boy in front who could 
not resist the temptation of lifting a corner and peeping behind 
the curtain, thrilled the audience with the cry, " He ain t there! " 
The bird had flown; every one suspected the joke and left the 
room with but one idea in view, that of reaching home before 
it was discovered that they had been to the show. The fiddler, 
the only accomplice Rice had, besides the ferryman, hastened to 
receive the two dollars he was to have in the event of the show 
man s safe retreat, forgetting that the very condition of his agree 
ment would effectually prevent him from taking any steps to get 
his money. Mr. Eice had thrown his carpet bag out of a window 
upon the projecting woodshed in the rear of the hotel and imme 
diately followed himself. With baggage in hand, he jumped 
from the shed just as Barrett was passing under after a pitcher 
of water. Alighting on his shoulders, Barrett was thrown 
sprawling upon the ground and the pitcher broken in fragments. 
As Barrett knew that Mr. Rice ought to be above stairs amusing 
the audience, he surmised the trouble, and gathering himself as 
soon as possible made chase for his tavern bill and room rent. 
By this time the constables were in Barrett s train, and as it was 
dark and Rice was incommoded by his carpet bag which con 
tained his personal effects, and by the ignorance of the topog 
raphy of the premises, he was nearly overtaken when he went 
headlong in the vault of a neighboring yard and the whole party 
" came tumbling after " just as he managed to draw himself out 
of the slough. Under cover of this diversion, he made his way 
to the ferryboat, into which he emptied his pockets of the night s 
receipts, and, undressing, he tied his clothes with a string to the 
side of the boat, and so in puris naturalibus clung outside to the 
rudder as the trusty ferryman pushed into the stream. The noise 
of the rowlocks soon attracted the ears of that portion of his 
pursuers who were in a condition to follow, and they gave chase 
to the river in full cry, supposing that he was concealed some 
where about the yards and could not elude the close watch set 
upon him. To get out a dozen boats in pursuit was the work 
of only a few minutes, during which time Mr. Rice seized an oar 
and made such good use of it that they were soon in close 
proximity to the Davenport shore. His object was to present 
himself openly in Davenport and win the forgiveness of its citi 
zens by his triumph over the Rock Island authorities who had 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 93 

laughed heartily at his previous day s adventures. But it would 
not do to land in his present plight, and, before he would have 
time to dress, the Rock Island flotilla would be upon him. He 
saw the Illinois shore illuminated with lanterns and torches, and 
a part of his pursuers running to and fro in wild excitement over 
the supposition that the boats would secure him and bring him 
back to Eock Island. Mr. Rice, taking in the situation at a 
glance, ceased to row, and the ferryman allowed the boat to go 
noiselessly down the current at the rate of five miles an hour, 
until six miles below Eock Island, \vhere, after remunerating 
the ferryman for his trouble, he landed at a wooded shore alone, 
arranged his toilet and made his way to Grand Detour, with one 
star only for his guide. As he had not performed at Eock Island 
he could not have been compelled to pay the license. 

For several years afterwards any of the villagers would have 
risked a coat of tar and feathers, in either of these localities, by 
inquiring how Dan Eice got rid of the license, and in a high- 
spirited manner did they bandy jeers and taunts at each other 
across the water for being so easily outwitted. When Mr. Eice 
had become the owner of a circus, which was in reality an estab 
lishment worth patronizing, and when he was no longer reduced 
to the necessity of giving leg-bail to license collectors, the arrival 
in that part of the world of his advance agent created an excite 
ment that threatened to suspend all the ordinary occupations of 
the inhabitants. Another generation had partly grown up, who, 
with the recent settlers had so often heard the story, that they 
began to look upon Dan Eice as Bluebeard or some other fabulous 
personage. The victims had not before suspected that the Dan 
Eice of their troubles was the athletic clown of whom they had 
heard and read so much. The affair was more interesting as Mr. 
Eice had instructed his agent to publish at Davenport that again 
he would " dodge the license," and no one doubted but that he 
would carry his threat into execution. As Chief La Claire, how 
ever, tendered him the use of a beautiful lot outside of the cor 
poration limits, quite easy of access to its inhabitants, Mr. Eice 
avoided the license without being obliged to use any particular 
ingenuity. 

At Rock Island, where the same intention was to be carried 
into effect, the authorities met him in a more liberal manner, and 
it would have been ungenerous to have played another prank on 
them. The foremost among those who gave him a hearty wel 
come was Mr. Barrett, who always declared that Mr. Eice had 
paid him his tavern and room bill. The ex-sheriff of Davenport 
County and the constables of Eock Island tendered him a wel 
come also that had no reflection of the previous episode in it. 
Even the ex-mayor of Eock Island confessed, as a secret he had 



94 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

never before dared to divulge, that lie was present at the exhibi 
tion that was never produced and cheered loudest when Mr. Rice 
disappeared behind the curtain, and was greatly chagrined when 
" he ain t there/ resounded through the room. And although 
he had observed all the respectable portion of the villagers in 
attendance, no one would ever acknowledge his presence, and he 
did not like to subject himself to the universal ridicule of being 
the only one who composed Dan Rice s audience on that occasion. 
It was advertised that every person who had gone to see the 
performance at Barrett s Hotel that memorable evening would 
now receive,, free, an admission to the circus, as Mr. Rice felt 
morally bound to adjust himself honorably with the community. 
But every man had committed himself by vowing that he had 
never been near the previous show at all, therefore the ex-mayor 
of Eock Island received a complimentary family ticket as a 
reward for his honest confession, and Mr. Eice s humorous re 
marks in the arena, of the previous affair, created great amuse 
ment at the expense of those who were unmistakably sensitive to 
his ridicule. 



CHAPTER XII. 

CIRCUS LIFE AS IT WAS AND IS OLD AND NEW SCHOOLS 
PRESENT AND PAST METHODS COMPARED MORALE AND PER 
SONNEL OF THE PERFORMERS THEIR METHODS, TEMPTA 
TIONS AND HARDSHIPS CONTRASTED WITH THOSE OF THE 
PRESENT-DAY ARTISTS A LUGUBRIOUS INCIDENT A BIBU 
LOUS BRIDEGROOM A HAPPY DENOUEMENT A GRUESOME 
AWAKENING SAD DEATH OF A ROOM-MATE. 

IN" striving to enhance the interests of his little travelling es 
tablishment, Mr. Rice was ever on the alert for some attrac 
tion to please the public mind and eye, and introducing new 
novelties of his own invention to strengthen the programme for 
different localities, and thus win an interested patronage. In 
the summer of 1843 he revisited Quincy, 111., and on the way to 
that place he secured, as a drawing card, a nephew of ex-Governor 
Carl in, who had won somewhat of a reputation among his towns 
men at Carlinville as a slack-wire performer. And on account 
of his professional notoriety, he became an adjunct of the Rice 
show which was extensively heralded as containing " among its 
many attractions, a nephew of the ex-Governor of Illinois." But, 
unfortunate!} 7 , the very first time young Blackshear gave a per 
formance on the strength of this announcement, the wire broke, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN IUCE 95 

and he was injured to such an extent by the fall that he was 
obliged to postpone his engagement indefinitely. Also in the 
summer of 1843, Mr. Rice exhibited through the mining region 
of Illinois, attracting much attention among the miners by the 
superb feats of strength he performed. He now added to his 
regular program the lifting of pigs of lead, beginning with 1,400 
pounds and gradually increasing the weight to 2,000 pounds. 
The miners could scarcely believe this feat possible, and the 
strongest among them was unable to duplicate it. Mr. Eice was 
of medium stature, and the lead, having been laid regularly on a 
platform, supported by two trestles, he was able to get under the 
platform with bowed shoulders and bent knees, and by straighten 
ing his lower limbs would lift the platform clear of the trestles. 
Among the sturdy fellows of superior strength brought forth by 
the miners to test the great burden was John Ethel, a powerful 
man, and also a previous acquaintance of Mr. Rice s, whose efforts 
to lift the enormous weight were also unsuccessful. The secret 
of the failure was, that they were all, as a rule, too tall, and 
when passing under the platform were obliged to bend so much 
as to destroy their leverage, and they therefore had no strength 
that they could bring into requisition. It was merely a question 
of proper adjustment of the trestles to meet the stature of the 
person who was testing the burden, and Mr. Rice s knowledge of 
anatomy enabled him to calculate the exact angle and extension 
so perfectly that he rarely missed those calculations. His daily 
practice, besides, created a precision that could only be gained 
by persistent usage. All through that wild, primitive country 
Rice continued his exhibition, travelling with a horse and buggy 
and indulging in his favorite game of " seven-up " with the card 
champion of every new field he visited. His expenses were not 
very large, but his extravagance consisted mainly in his great 
hearted, liberal nature, that could never withstand the appeals 
made upon his purse, for he was often called upon to contribute 
to different objects out of compliment, a courtesy he rarely re 
fused. 

At Snake Diggins, afterwards called Potosi, in Jo Daviess 
County, he encountered the only man he met on the tour who 
could play " seven-up " better than he. His name was Lemuel 
Smith, an old sport, who won six hundred dollars from him, and 
his horse and buggy also fell a sacrifice, which, however, was 
returned to him, and fifty dollars besides. This sum Smith 
loaned to Mr. Rice, with which to go to Plattsburg, Mineral 
Point, and Galena. Mr. Rice informs us that his assistant on 
this tour was a young man who gave his name as Arthur S. 
Poarlos, and the two young persons formed a strong friendship 
for each other. 



96 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Pearles represented himself as a Bostonian, and it is evident 
that he was an intellectual individual, and also a line musician, 
for he was master of several different instruments, but what Ue 
specially preferred was the violin. He was also possessed of fine 
morals and carefully held himself as far apart as was possible 
from the rough element of those early days. He told Mr. Rice 
that he had been carefully raised, and, as he was not naturally 
strong, he had been advised by his physician to go to the min 
ing country and lead a life among its hardships; to experiment 
if it would effect a cure, as the climate in Boston was too rigid. 
The result had been so satisfactory that he concluded to return 
to his home, and, as he preferred a journey long drawn out, he 
engaged to travel with Mr. Rice and thus eventually accomplish 
the end with renewed vigor by entering into what seemed to be to 
him a pleasant pastime. A few days previous to the performance 
at Plattsburg, Mr. Pearles had been ailing with premonitory 
symptoms of the quinsy sore throat, and was really quite ill by 
the time they reached Mineral Point, the next place on the route. 
The exhibition was held as usual in the dining-room of the hotel, 
and Mr. Pearles played for Mr. Rice in the songs and dances, 
but was unable to continue the programme during the feats of 
strength. He was obliged to retire directly to his room, where 
the landlady made him as comfortable as possible under the cir 
cumstances, renewing the poultices on his throat, etc., for Mr. 
Rice had strictly charged that Pearles should have the best at 
tention, and it was rendered accordingly. 

Mr. Rice, necessarily, retired late, and as he occupied the same 
room with Pearles, he took to him a hot beverage which, the 
young man told him, he could not possibly swallow. Mr. Rice, 
after seeing that Pearles wants were supplied, retired by his 
side in the same couch, and was soon in a profound slumber. On 
awakening the next morning about five o clock he inquired of his 
friend if he were feeling better, and, not receiving any response, 
he laid his hand on him gently to rouse him, and found, to his 
consternation, that the man was cold. 

Further investigation by a physician proved that the abscess in 
Mr. Pearles throat had broken and suffocated him. As there 
was no organized graveyard in that mining country, Mr. Rice 
contracted with the landlord to set off a plot of ground with a 
rude fence, and secured a carpenter to make a stanch box, in 
which they laid Arthur Pearles away, without any ceremony, in 
n lonely grave which they dug with their own hands, and left 
him mid the lights and shadows that shifted over the prairie. 
Mr. Rice gathered together the young man s effects, and after 
locking the trunk and fastening the key on the cover, had it 
addressed and despatched to the Mayor of Boston, to whom he 



KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 97 

also wrote apprising him of the circumstances as they occurred 
above, and then continued his journey. To that letter he never 
received any response, and he does not know whether the relatives 
of Arthur Pearles ever heard of his death, but the sad incident 
is still impressed on his memory, after all these years, with a 
painful vividness. 

Before crossing the Wisconsin, Mr. Eice stopped over night at 
Patch s Grove, on the prairie, and in fireside gossip, before retir 
ing that night, discovered that Mr. Patch was related to his 
stepfather, by his marriage with a Miss Manahan, of Cayuga 
Lake, N. Y. A bond of relationship having thus been estab 
lished, it was agreed that he should be Mr. Patch s guest for 
several days, and give an exhibition in his house. The news 
having been circulated in that sparsely settled country, the rustic 
beaux and belles of the neighborhood gathered on the evening 
of the entertainment in the immense living room of the Patch 
family, which did duty for both sitting-room and kitchen, while 
the gigantic fireplace, curtained off by two sheets, served for 
dressing-room and stage alike. The silhouette of Mr. Rice s 
manly form, as he divested himself of his clothes to don his stage 
garb, came out in clear relief on the curtain and provoked much 
mirth, as well as some little consternation, in the audience. It 
is also recorded that Mr. Rice actually blushed and was greatly 
discomfited when he discovered that he had, without any design 
on his part, been the innocent cause of deep mortification to the 
prairie belles and their beaux; but notwithstanding this ludicrous 
scene, the remainder of the programme was carried out with 
equally good effect. In continuing his journey after a series of en 
tertainments at Patch s Grove, before crossing the Wisconsin 
River on his way to Baraboo, Mr. Rice observed a monstrous black 
snake in the road over which they were driving. This circum 
stance would have seemed only a trivial affair to many, but to 
one so constituted as he, and who has such an intense aversion 
to those reptiles as he entertains, the mere sight of one is almost 
ominous, and, besides, he holds peculiar views in regard to them. 
Not being in a position to despatch this one, which he disliked 
so much to pass, the party urged the horse to the limit of his 
speed and made no halt until they reached the arranged destina 
tion, so determined was Mr. Rice to get out of that part of the 
country and leave his evil genius behind him. 

Mr. Seth Kurd, a popular resident of Baraboo, at that period 
owned the stage line at that place, and also kept the hotel at 
which Mr. Rice s party registered, and it was in the dining-room, 
as usual, that he gave his performances. On one occasion he 
regaled his audience by executing a genuine war-dance to please 
the Indians, many of whom had come to see the Strong Man. 
7 



98 REMINISCENCES OF UAN EICE 

Colonel Rice has remarked that it was a curious spectacle to see 
the swarthy fellows seated around on the floor with their blankets 
folded about them and trinkets displayed to good advantage on 
this occasion, as they were part of the audience. And they ex 
hibited great interest when he went through the war-dance, ap 
parently to their satisfaction. They expressed themselves freely 
at his feats of strength, and applauded every feature of the 
performance. 

On his return journey he remained over night and gave a 
performance at Fort Winnebago, a great army station, at which 
many prominent officers were then quartered,, including Gen. 
Zachary Taylor; young Jefferson Davis, who was afterwards Gen 
eral Taylor s son-in-law; and Gen. Simon Cameron. Also Lieu 
tenant Rodman, the inventor of the famous Rodman gun. This 
gentleman had previously met Mr. Rice, when he was a boy, at 
the Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburg, and on this occasion, he was 
Mr. Rice s sponsor for the evening. The performance was a 
grateful change to the monotony of garrison life and all expressed 
their pleasure at the efforts of our hero in " driving dull care 
away " in the few short hours that he remained their guest. 

Late in the spring of 1844 he gave his performance in Ottawa, 
111., at the headwaters of the river. He had grown weary of the 
Far West, as that country was considered at that period; the 
romance had vanished from the life he was leading and he at last 
determined to return to the East and follow some other vocation. 

Among the audience who saw his show on the last night at 
Ottawa, was the Rev. Skipworth Griswold, a remarkable char 
acter. Though a preacher of the Baptist Church, at Danbury, 
Conn., Mr. Griswold was travelling through the West as the 
advance agent of the North American Circus, of which G. R. 
Spaulding, of Albany, N. Y., was proprietor. 

Clergymen were not paid salaries in those days, and Mr. Gris 
wold, who was a good man, was forced to travel ahead of a circus 
in summer to get money enough to support his family in winter. 

His superior education made him an excellent representative, 
and his geographical knowledge, as well as his influence, were of 
great benefit to such an organization. After Rice s performance 
was over, Mr. Griswold walked back to the hotel with him. 

" That is a fine exhibition, Mr. Rice," said he, " and it makes 
a splendid impression. I wonder you do not join a circus and 
display your surprising feats and do your negro songs and 
speeches under canvas. I feel sure you would make a great 
clown, and you know good clowns are hard to get." Mr. Rice 
was impressed with Mr. Griswold s earnestness, but he had never 
thought of joining a circus. Still, any change, of whatever char 
acter, seemed just at that time desirable, and when Mr. Griswold 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 99 

offered to give him a letter of introduction to G. R. Spaulding, 
who would soon be with his circus at Galena, Mr. Rice accepted 
it eagerly, as he was greatly impressed by Mr. Griswold s gen 
tlemanly bearing and his evident sincerity. One peculiarity this 
gentleman had that distinguished him from his brothers in the 
profession, and that may have been a virtue, was, that he would 
never travel on Sunday. His employer, however, in this in 
stance, appreciated the tone he gave to the circus by observing 
that custom and thus catering to the church-going public. In 
those days a circus remained a week, and sometimes two, in a 
town like Galena, and its patrons would assemble from all parts 
of the surrounding country. On the arrival of Mr. Spaulding, 
Mr. Rice found that he was by no means unacquainted with his 
fame, for everyone in that country knew of Dan Rice by his 
previous career among them. The letter of introduction was 
duly presented, and Mr. Spaulding soon began cross-examining 
him as to what he could do. 

" You say you can sing comic songs? " 

"Yes/ v 

" And do negro songs and dances? " 

" Yes." 

" And pull against horses? " 

" Yes." 

" And climb the fireman s ladder? " 

" Yes." 

" Would you like to go with the circus? " 

" Yes; I m tired of roaming around the country alone." 

" Can you drive a team ? " 

" Yes." 

" Can you learn to ride, and figure in the Grand Entry? " 

" Yes." 

" Can you play clown? " 

" I can try." 

" Well, if you can do all those things, and play clown, and 
whip three men a day in addition, I ll board you and give you 
$15 a month." 

Mr. Spaulding was having his own little joke in all this ramble, 
and Mr. Rice was well aware of it, but he accepted, and on the 
fourth day made his first appearance in the circus ring. He was 
at once successful and carried out his contract religiously, not 
excepting the three presumed beatings a day to be administered 
to the champion of the local bullies who beset travelling circuses 
in those days, notwithstanding varied reports to the contrary. 

The circus of the early times had nothing in its profession to 
cast reflection on its actors, and Mr. Rice says he has nothing to 
regret by being connected with it. 



100 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

He made his debut as a circus clown at Galena, 111., on the 
afternoon of a hot day in midsummer in 1844, and while he made 
every effort to please the audience, he thinks he succeeded, but 
says he perspired as well as aspired in about equal proportions. 
On the whole, his debut may have been pronounced a brilliant 
success, for a large number of friends and acquaintances were 
there to cheer and encourage him, and everything passed off 
smoothly at the entertainment. Among Mr. Rice s acquaint 
ances who witnessed this, his first, circus performance, was a 
miner by the name of John Ethel, a tall, gaunt, unprepossessing- 
looking individual, but a good fellow, and industrious workman, 
and an honest man as well. He had been in good luck lately, 
having struck a rich vein of lead ore, and had purchased a neat 
little home into which he had conducted, on the very morning 
of Mr. Rice s debut, the rather pretty little daughter of a Con 
necticut dominie or minister. 

John Ethel himself was not an educated man, but his wife had 
been a " schoolmarm," and John regarded her attainment and 
learning as colossal, while she almost worshipped his physical 
powers, which were not overestimated; so, as each person admired 
in the other some quality the chosen one really possessed, the 
chances for their mutual happiness were good, and the prospects 
positively assuring. 

John Ethel and Mr. Rice had met occasionally, and were 
socially on excellent terms, so the groom determined to take in 
Mr. Rice s debut on his wedding day as part of the festivities 
of the occasion, and he took it for granted, of course, that his 
bride would accompany him; but in this natural calculation, he 
was mistaken. Mrs. John Ethel had been strictly reared by her 
parents under the true " blue laws " of Connecticut, and had 
been taught to regard a circus as sinful unless a menagerie went 
with it. " If only there were some animals, John, dear," she 
said; " a tiger or two would save it, you know, or a lion would 
make it all right, or even a leopard or a camel might take away 
the curse, but no animals at all, dear; only horses and men in 
tights and women in spangles and gauze, nothing on; ah, I 
couldn t do it, John, it would break father s heart, so don t ask 
me, John." And John, after this, did not insist upon her going, 
but kissing his bride good-by for awhile, left her to fulfil his 
engagement, that embraced Mr. Rice s debut. Having previously 
stopped at various taverns and partaken of more than was neces 
sary of spirituous refreshments, he reached Spaulding s Circus 
tent, where Rice was performing, in a " glorious " condition. On 
entering and seeing Mr. Rice in the ring he called out his name, 
and running down to where he was standing, seized him by the 
hand and shook it heartily. Mr. Rice acknowledged the impul- 



BEMINISCEXCES OF DAN KICE 101 

sivc demonstration of Mr. Ethel, as he did not wish to have the 
performance interrupted. Meanwhile,, John s great burly body in 
tercepted the view of the audience, and calls of " Sit down there, 
John Ethel," arose from the crowd. John looked around and not 
finding any seat vacant, the tent being full to overflowing, delib 
erately sat down on the ground beside the ring, interrupting Mr. 
Eice now and then with his views of the performance, including 
his own share therein. All was proceeding smoothly when a 
storm suddenly burst over the tent a storm of wind and rain, 
which came, as most of those tornadoes do, with scarcely any 
previous warning. It blew the tent down and every one nar 
rowly escaped being hurt. They hurried away, performers and 
all, the latter for the once having the best of the situation, as they 
had hotels or taverns to go to for shelter, which were close at 
hand. The storm lasted for several hours and prevented any 
evening performance, but after supper it began to abate in vio 
lence, and Dan Bice, the new clown, and another member of the 
Spaulding Company, a young man who afterwards became fa 
mous as W. W. Hobbes, the dashing rider, taking their umbrellas 
went down to the river to see the steamboats. There was a 
notable public house, a stone structure, called the Eagle Coffee 
House, which was, in after years, the favorite resort of General 
Grant when he was a young man, and which was then, as now, one 
of the landmarks of the water front. Hobbes and Eice entered 
this house and looked on a while at the gathering crowd, conspicu 
ous among whom was John Ethel, now hilarious in the secondary 
stages of intoxication. He was dispensing both fun and funds 
with a degree of extravagance that lacked good judgment, but 
this was his wedding night, and he the happy but bibulous bride 
groom was celebrating the connubial event. Seeing Mr. Eice and 
Hobbes, he accosted the former and invited him and his com 
panion to have a drink. " Dan," he said, as Mr. Eice accepted 
the invitation, " I saw your debut to-day," with an accent on the 
but, " and said you were the worst clown I ever saw," which was 
plain and not complimentary. " I ll tell you what I ll do with 
you, Dan Eice; paint me up for the clown and I ll play it all 
around for drinks." The crowd thought it a form of joke, but 
Ethel was in earnest. " Paint me, Dan," he cried, and for the 
sheer fun Mr. Eice sent for some stuff to the nearest drug store, 
such as vermilion, Spanish whiting, and India ink, and painted 
him in a most hideous fashion, first whitening his face and neck, 
then painting his mouth from ear to ear with vermilion, and 
then painted his eyebrows with India ink, adding ink also to the 
corners of the mouth, thus the clown was portrayed in caricature. 
He had taken off his coat and vest, and Mr. Eice completed the 
pictorial outfit by tying a white handkerchief around Ethel s 



102 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

head, which framed his painted features in a most hideous way. 
The gathering was convulsed with laughter, as John, in his 
maudlin state attempted the clown s grimaces with distorted 
features, and as he slipped on the wet floor in his wild, un 
steady gyrations, his appearance was indeed fiendishly funny, 
and simply indescribable. The hilarious sport increased, rather 
than diminished, and the evening waned into midnight, and soon 
there remained, of all the revellers, only Mr. Eice, his friend, the 
barkeeper, and John Ethel. The late hour ushered in the time 
for closing and those present made preparations for leaving. 
Ethel was about exhausted in his frantic efforts to play the 
clown, and concluded that he would make his way home to his 
waiting bride. As he shook Mr. Eice s hand at parting, he said, 
" Well, good-bye, Dan, you re the worst-looking clown I ever saw, 
except myself," he added as he caught a glimpse of his own ap 
pearance in the glass, in front of which Mr. Eice was standing. 
The figure, impersonating himself, looked so hideous, that he 
glared at it with a sort of fascination that had a tendency to sober 
him into a realization that he had made a ridiculous exhibition of 
himself, for he remarked, " By gosh, I can t go home to my wife 
on my wedding night looking like this." He made a frantic 
dash for the pump which stood in front of the tavern, and the 
location of which he knew well enough to guess at in the dark 
ness. In his rash haste to perform his ablutions, and with his 
brain still unsettled by his potations and aggravated by his pj*e- 
vious violent exercise, he followed the wrong direction and made 
his way directly to a hitching post, against which a reveller was 
braced, and indulging in a series of violent efforts to relieve him 
self of his Bacchanalian feast, the digestion of which was im 
peded, no doubt, by his partaking too freely of the liquors fur 
nished at Ethel s expense. The supreme moment for him came 
just as John staggered up to his imaginary pump, and, securing 
the man s arm, which he mistook for the pump handle, he raised 
it and gave a vicious lunge downward which caused the Baccha 
nalian stream to flow profusely, which John caught in his out 
stretched hands and proceeded forthwith to wash his face. A 
repetition of the performance was substantial evidence, in his 
dazed condition, that he was absolutely clean and in readiness 
to meet the newly made wife in presentable order. 

Mr. Eice and his friend accompanied him to his home to as 
sure themselves that no other accident should befall him on the 
way. On reaching his cottage door, Ethel knocked gently, hav 
ing just a glimmering ray of common sense left to remind him 
that he must approach his dwelling quietly, so as to give assur 
ance to the waiting bride that all was well, even though the late 
ness of the hour was rather ominous. In response to his knock- 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 103 

ing came the tones of a timid voice inquiring, " Who is there ? " 
" It s me, your John," was the answer, in a deep bass voice, that 
she recognized so well. His wife opened the door and started 
back aghast, as the light fell full on his face and revealed to her 
the conglomerated mixture with which he had performed his 
ablutions, and the nature of which she could not possibly mistake. 
His unsightly general appearance appalled and disgusted her, and 
she could only gasp, " Why, John, what on earth is the matter 
with you? Look at your soiled clothes and filthy condition." 
And his deep voice hiccoughed out exultantly though rather un 
steadily, " Why, Mary (hie), you ought er seen me (hie) fore I 
was washed," and the cottage door closed upon the first act of the 
serio-comic drama, the continuation of which was enacted in 
private. 

The mortification of that night s adventure lasted John Ethel 
his lifetime, and that one glaring deviation from the path of his 
hitherto previous respectability caused him to form a resolution 
that it would be the last, which, indeed, it proved to be, in his 
long and honorable career that followed. The initiation of the 
newly made wife into the almost unpardonable blunder of her 
husband, was a severe test to her naturally refined sensitiveness, 
but her womanly instinct covered his first fault with a prudent 
judgment that exhibited more of sympathy with his lack of dis 
cretion in regard to himself than in the injury to her confidence, 
of which he was so forgetful. In explaining this much to Mr. Eice 
in after jears, he also added that the course his wife pursued on 
that eventful night had shaped the whole of his future career. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

DAN S DEBUT IN THE EQUESTRIAN WORLD THE COMPOSITE 
CLOWN RICE IN THE ROLE OF MANAGER AND PROPRIETOR 
OF HIS FIRST CIRCUS STRICKEN WITH YELLOW FEVER 
NURSED BY GEN. ZACHARY TAYLOR A FACE, A FORTUNE, 
AND THEIR EFFECT ON A FEVER CONVALESCENT A WOULD- 
BE ASSASSIN RICE S RARE PRESENCE OF MIND NEW OR 
LEANS CITIZENS GRAND TESTIMONIAL THE ARREST. 

MR. RICE S star of success was now destined to rise in the 
ascendancy, and the future held for him results that 
reached far beyond his highest expectations. The keynote of his 
aspirations had struck the vital chord that was to reverberate 
from the rustic borders of our growing country to the sea, and 



104 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

elevate the standard of the circus to the heights of a meritorious 
calling which was, at once, both artistic and dignified. Now that 
Mr. Eice had at last become a legitimate circus performer, it will 
be well to glance, in a general way, at the condition of the circus 
world in his early days as compared with the circus of the present 
time. The main difference of the circus fifty years ago and that 
of this period was that the former was a circus pure and simple, 
an equestrian exhibition, neither less nor more. There were no 
animals in the old-time amusement except horses, for the circus 
was not, as now, a menagerie combined with a side show, and the 
noticeable features that distinguished the circus of 1840 from that 
of the present day is that the system was conducted on a more 
economical and restrictive basis in the forties. There were not 
as many performers and the salaries were smaller, even allowing 
for the difference in the value of money at that time and now. 
A man who received $50 a month and expenses in 1840 was re 
garded in the same light as one who gets fifty dollars per week 
and expenses in 1900. To-day every one is a specialist and con 
fines himself to one line of business only, but forty years ago 
every one was expected to do everything when it was necessary, 
and generally accomplished it, even to the daring Bare-Back 
Rider, who assisted in erecting the tents, and the King of the 
Invincibles who aided in the arranging of the seats. A circus star 
was practically a " general utility," and perhaps this made him 
a better " all around man." There were but few appliances, but 
there was more individuality. 

A circus manager, for example, made less ado, but accomplished 
more and better results, and although he did not travel with a 
brass band or a staff of assistants, managed to equip the estab 
lishment with artistic accompaniments just the same. Although 
a variegated, and on the whole, a hard life, yet the experience of 
the circus performer was, in those days, not an unpleasant one. 
The company travelled in wagons, roomy and comfortable, from 
town to town, selecting the best hotels along the routes. There 
was always a spice of adventure and romance about each day s 
experience, and the performers were generally orderly, excepting 
an occasional demonstration of professional jealousy which oc 
curs in every organization to some extent. There was, of course, 
a show of more or less combativeness between the members of 
a company, and the country element along the route were, at 
times, disposed to create trouble in order to display supremacy, 
but such troubles arose mainly in the mining and manufacturing 
districts where certain types of the foreign element predominate. 

Frequently the circus people were at fault on other occasions, 
but as a rule, circumstances generally forced them to be aggres 
sive. With very few exceptions, the general order of affairs pro- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 105 

grossed pleasantly and the accounts of trouble have been greatly 
exaggerated. 

The training of the equestrian was most rigid, and his early 
labors most arduous compared with the condition of the young 
equestrian neophyte of to-day, which is now greatly ameliorated. 
Formerly he was subjected to great cruelty, and every step in his 
advancement accompanied with the lash and curses; now, with 
occasional exceptions, the apprentice is treated humanely and, as 
might be expected, his advancement is more rapid. Hence the 
singular fact that young Hernandez and M lle Rosa, though mere 
children, are better performers than those of the old school. 

There was nothing about the business that necessarily militated 
against law and good morals, nothing inconsistent with the most 
exemplary life and rigid profession of religion. A disorderly 
equestrian was an anomaly, or, if disorderly, it was still more rare 
to find his comrades countenancing him. Non-resistance, though 
more ostentatiously professed, is never more rigidly practised. 
When, however (their property dilapidated, their persons at 
tacked, and their names maligned by a prejudiced community) 
" forbearance becomes no longer a virtue," they do resist, and 
usually with success. Who has ever seen the aggressor neglect 
to apply for legal redress, or, applied, refused? The showman s 
case is always prejudged. To be accused is to be convicted. 

Fortunately a brighter day is dawning. A fondness for eques 
trian and gymnastic exercises pervades the highest and best in 
the land, and with their good opinion the maledictions of others 
can be borne. They know that prurient imaginations that could 
not safely view the old masters or revel in the beauties of the 
painters and sculptors of whom the country is so proud, without 
finding food for corrupt thought, should, of course, never visit 
a circus. With such, nothing but what is cold and austere and 
bare is pure, watching ever to detect a lurking Cupid or Venus 
in every position and a double entendre in every expression. 

The fanatic may have consolation in the great moral as well 
as economic axiom that the demand regulated the quality as well 
as the supply. The trader furnishing the articles most in de 
mand amongst his customers does not regard their utility, nor 
does the merchant in the glaring color in his fabrics when such 
are in vogue trouble himself about the purity of the taste of his 
patrons. 

The extraordinary uniqueness of the entertainments Colonel 
Rice presented was in bizarre but business-like fidelity with 
which the minutest detail was invested. The indescribable spirit 
that imbued everything with its infectious and impressible in 
dividuality, to say nothing of the genius for organization which 
held in check and moulded into a unit the crude and ever-clash- 



106 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

ing interests of a professional personnel, rarely if ever encoun 
tered in any other channel of the world of amusement. All these 
characteristics had an inevitable tendency to win a public patron 
age, in the face of an ever-present and powerful competition, 
little short of the marvellous,, when the reader seeks to analyze 
the secret of Mr. Rice s unparalleled triumphs in the circus arena. 

The cordiality with which the better classes and more influ 
ential citizens responded to his odd way of casting off the stale, 
mechanical method of the past in introducing innovations that 
ordinarily require a century to mature all this can be accounted 
for only by the originality and determination, pure and native 
tact, and brilliant genius of the great moral champion of the 
arena. 

The following year, 1847, when he had scarcely attained his 
twenty-fourth year, young Dan identified himself with the Welsh 
National Circus, making his initial bow in the equestrian world 
at the National Theatre, Philadelphia. It was while filling an 
engagement there that his wonderful versatility asserted itself 
in a marked degree. If in the character of a Shakespearean 
clown he had hitherto achieved an unrivalled renown, in his 
presentation of the new, boldly original, and strikingly comic role 
of an equestrian clown, he had certainly reached the comic 
climax, so to speak, of his world-wide fame as a fun-maker. 

The composite clown, in which these two opposite types com 
bined, was only made possible by such a genius as Eice, and re 
vealed in him one of the richest and most natural grotesques that 
was ever surmounted with the sugar-loaf hat. 

Perhaps no artist is thrown more completely on his own re 
sources than is the equestrian clown. Unlike the low comedian, 
he has no humorous speeches, monologues, jests, jokes, or conun 
drums manufactured to the bidding by the best wits of the day, 
working overtime at that; neither has he the assistance of con 
federates drilled to their parts or the extrinsic aids of the arenic 
illusion and dress. He is, on the contrary, compelled to invent his 
wit, as it were, on the wing, and being the centre of attraction, 
the observed of all observers, if a spontaneous sally should prove 
amiss, he has no alternative but to bear the recoil upon his own 
shoulders. 

In this semi-blend of the wise fool and the knock-about-jack- 
of-all-jokes sort of character were revealed the exhaustless re 
sources of the remarkable man. 

Mr. Rice was never at fault never at a loss for anecdote or 
repartee in any emergency, and while his art was often pungent, 
his mirth-inspiring personality made ever the object of his shafts 
the subject of an enviable interest than a target for popular and 
distasteful gossip. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 107 

But in the development of the dual character Mr. Eice had a 
two-fold purpose. 

The Shakespearian jester, sui generis, had entailed an in 
credible drain upon him. In creating or assimilating the eques 
trian clown he discovered a sort of side line, a foil in fact, to re 
lieve the tremendous strain, mental and physical, which the 
former role demanded. 

He realized in so doing that, in the event of success as the 
delineator of the " twin-opposites," his future was assured. 

The mirth he provoked proved indeed a mint of money. It 
seemed as if at one bound he had reached the top round of his 
professional ladder. 

Wherever he appeared throughout the United States the most 
tremendous and enthusiastic audiences greeted his mirth-inspir 
ing presence. This is not a little extraordinary when it is con 
sidered he made his debut in the ring only three years prior, that 
is, in the year 1844. His reputation, sprung up thus suddenly, 
however, was simply and solely due to his indomitable and tire 
less energy, reinforced by a business and a social tact that were 
only surpassed by his engaging personality and professional 
talents. 

Some one has said that the man who makes two blades of grass 
grow where but one thrived before is a public benefactor; upon 
the same principle he who makes us laugh twice when we laughed 
but once before is as great a philosopher and more truly entitled 
to the admiration and applause of his fellow-men. Dan Eice 
was, indeed, such a benefactor, great as a man, yet greater as an 
artist. His success was electric instantaneous. He was fairly 
swamped with nattering offers at home and from abroad. He 
was nattered and feted on all sides. His Philadelphia engage 
ment was one continuous ovation. So it was that under such 
gratifying auspices the youthful prince of jesters once more 
branched out for himself, a new departure that proved to be the 
stepping-stone to far greater triumphs in broader fields, as 
manager and proprietor of his first circus. 

Late in the spring of the year 1848, with the first circus he 
ever owned on board of the steamboat " Allegheny Mail," which 
started from St. Louis, he ascended the Mississippi Eiver as far 
as St. Paul in Minnesota, exhibiting at alternate towns on both 
sides of the river. In returning he descended the lower Missis 
sippi with a view of spending the winter in New Orleans. Ar 
riving at Milliken s Bend, near the mouth of the Yazoo Eiver, 
Mr. Bice s indisposition, of which he had complained two days 
previous, had now developed into a raging fever. At this point, 
several gentlemen, including an overseer from the surrounding 
plantations, called to see Mr. Eice, and concluded from his symp- 



108 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

toms that he was, in all probability, suffering from the first stages 
of the yellow fever. They advised him to leave his boat and 
make use of the overseer s quarters while he was under treatment, 
at the same time recommending for his medical adviser the plan 
tation physician, Dr. O Neill, a young student from Cincinnati. 
Mr. Rice retained a reliable employee of his own as night nurse, 
and during the day he was attended by a planter s young son 
by the name of Jim Ooff. In appearance this young man was of 
a sullen, suspicious type, and Mr. Eice imagined that he was 
capable of any crime, and as his safe, containing $28,000, was 
removed with him from the boat, that fact made him apprehen 
sive of its contents. Therefore he was ever on the alert, with 
his mind actively engaged on the one absorbing thought, that 
of watching the safe during the day, thus diverting his attention 
from his illness, which was evidently the best thing that could 
have happened under the circumstances. Finally, by the time 
Mr. Rice became safely convalescent, his boat arrived after meet 
ing the appointments on the Yazoo River, and he was then taken 
by his attending physician to Bayou Sara in Mississippi, to be 
treated by a celebrated yellow fever practitioner, Dr. Gordon. 
This gentleman being aware that the young students usually 
practised first among the plantation negroes, and being surprised 
that he should have a white patient under his charge, asked Dr. 
O Neill what had been his method of treatment in Mr. Rice s case. 
When the young physician had explained, Dr. Gordon said that 
it was only by a miracle that the patient had survived under it. 
Mr. Rice, whose humor was always uppermost, responded: "I 
lived, Doctor, under the pressure of that iron safe with $28,000 
in it, and I couldn t die with all that money lying around loose." 
After the evening exhibition Mr. Rice was able to be taken 
on the boat and continue the journey with his company to Baton 
Rouge, Dr. Gordon having advised him how to proceed during his 
convalescence. Arriving at Baton Rouge, Mr. Rice was removed 
from the boat to the hotel, where he remained several days, dur 
ing which time a number of old friends called to inquire after his 
condition. Among them was Gen. Zachary Taylor, who had, a 
short time previous, returned from the War in Mexico loaded with 
victorious honors. Having had large experience with yellow 
fever, he insisted that he would become Mr. Rice s nurse, and 
through the General s kind attention and the delicacies he fur 
nished, the patient rapidly improved, so much so that after a few 
days he was assisted to walk from the hotel to his boat, leaning 
on the arm of the General, to whom he ever felt grateful, as he 
afterwards proved by his tribute to him in the arena. A curious 
incident in connection with this episode occurred long afterward 
in the autumn of 1875, when Mr. Rice was making his tour by 



EEMIN1SCEXCES OF DAN RICE 109 

boat down the river as usual. He landed at Duckport, a few 
miles below Milliken s Bend, a locality made famous in history 
by General Grant digging a canal to cut oil Vicksburg from the 
mainland. The exhibition was held at night only, as the negroes 
were busily engaged by day cotton-picking. While the prepara 
tions were being made for the evening s entertainment, Mr. Rice 
took a stroll to look at the old relic of war times, the Grant Canal, 
when his attention was drawn to a couple of bears chained to a 
tree. He threw himself down on the Bermuda grass which cov 
ered the entire levee, to watch their antics, when he was suddenly 
accosted by a stranger who was bending over him. He glanced 
up and saw an uncouth character standing there with an arsenal 
around his waist, and rising to his feet, greeted the stranger 
with the question, " Do you live here, sir? " " Yes, sah, this is 
my plantation, and thar, yandah, is my grocery." And then 
pointing to the circus tent in the distance, he continued, " What 
is that thar? " To which Mr. Rice replied, " That is Dan Rice s 

Horse Show." The man remarked, " It s a lie, sah; Dan 

Rice is dead." Mr. Rice explained, " Dan Rice is not dead," to 
which the man responded, " Yes, he is; he died at Milligan s 
Bend over twenty years ago of yellow fever. I know what I m 
talking about," and with a gesture of a man of that class who 
shows that he is not accustomed to being contradicted, his hand 
sought the pistol in his belt. Mr. Rice knew the meaning of the 
ominous sign, but continued nevertheless, " I tell you, sir, Dan 
Rice is not dead! I am the only Dan Rice that ever lived and 
I ve never been dead once since I was born." " Stranger," the 
man said solemnly, " I was nurse to Dan Rice when he war down 
with the yellow fever at Milligan s Bend." " What is your 
name? " asked Mr. Rice, beginning to recognize him. He replied, 
"Jim Ooff. Everybody knows me in this country, sah; I work 
over 200 hands." Upon this information, Mr. Rice, knowing 
that those 200 negroes could not attend his show without the full 
consent of the master, brought all his policy to bear upon that 
question, and with a financial eye to windward, he invited the 
stranger to come down to his boat at the levee, and, as was his 
custom, treated his guest very hospitably. In the course of con 
versation, Mr. Rice remarked, " Well, Ooff, I really owe my life 
to you," at which the man smiled. "Do you remember," he 
continued, " the iron safe I had with me in my room? " " Yes, 
sah." " Well, there was $28,000 in that safe, and I read petit 
larceny in your face and it was my anxiety about that money that 
kept me alive." " What was that you read in my face? " asked 
Jim, doubtfully. As Mr. Rice saw that he did not fully catch 
the meaning of the term, he felt safe in repeating it, so he re 
plied, " I said that I read petit larceny in your face, sir." Jim 



110 REMINISCENCES OE DAN RICE 

bro ke into a smile that did not tend to enhance the contour of his 
features, and remarked jubilantly, " Well, they didn t reckon me 
a good-lookin feller in them days! That s a fact." Mr. Eice 
was closely observing the man, and says the lurking fiend looked 
out in every feature, and the desperado was stamped in every 
movement and gesture. As he grasped Mr. Eice s hand on his 
departure from the boat, that gentleman asked, " What do you 
keep in your grocery, sir?" "Plantation supplies, sah," he 
answered. Mr. Eice then asked if he had any eggs for sale, and 
Ooff replied, " I ve got one hundred dozen fresh eggs, sah, at 
twenty-five cents a dozen." " Then, I will take them all," said 
Mr. Eice; " send them up to the boat with your bill." " All 
right, sah." " Bye-the-bye," said Mr. Eice, "here is a family 
ticket for you to attend the show this evening." " I ve got no 
family, sah; only a nigger gal and her mother who keeps house 
for me. But I m much obliged to you, sah, for your ticket," and 
he grasped Mr. Eice s hand once more before he started away 
with, " I m yo friend, sah. Anything I can do for you, sah, com 
mand me, sah." After the eggs had been delivered from the 
plantation and his bill settled, Mr. Eice was surprised to see him 
return and purchase two hundred tickets for the negroes to at 
tend in the evening. The news of Mr. Eice s meeting with Jim 
Ooff spread among the adjacent plantations, and they were 
largely represented by the colored population that evening, to 
gether with about one hundred ladies and gentlemen who occu 
pied the reserved seats. The large audience was due, mainly, to 
Mr. Eice s diplomacy in dealing with the outlaw. Mr. Eice says 
that a Southern gentleman would have resented the indignity 
which Jim Ooff offered in calling him a liar, but, coming as he did 
from the North, he was of cooler blood and remembered the old 
saying that, " A drop of honey gathers more flies than a gallon 
of vinegar." 

When Mr. Eice had fully recovered from the fever, he revived 
his professional season in the succeeding winter in New Orleans 
under very auspicious circumstances. The company, being com 
posed of some of the very best available talent, was sufficient 
assurance for the attendance of the elite of the city, and General 
Taylor and the officers of his staff were also frequent visitors 
from the barracks at Baton Eouge. 

With his great capacity for localizing events and the broad 
license of the arena, Mr. Eice always vividly displayed the virtues 
of the hoary old hero of Buena Vista, and continually kept him 
before the people in story and song, composing them as the cir 
cumstances required and the opportunities offered. The scene 
he introduced of the " Battle of Buena Vista " was one of his 
greatest successes in the arena. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 111 

General Taylor was daily growing stronger into the affections 
of the people and Mr. Rice was one of the first to advocate the 
General for the Presidency and labored assiduously for that end, 
bringing all his powers to bear while in the arena and out of it. 
Mr. Rice was one of the delegates from Louisiana to the con 
vention which nominated General Taylor for the Presidency, and 
was also present at the inauguration ceremonies. Being a strong 
personal friend and admirer of the grand old hero, General Tay 
lor offered Mr. Eice a place of honor on his private staff, which 
was accepted for friendship s sake, the General conferring upon 
him the legitimate title of Colonel, which title he is proud to 
assume as the gift of one of our greatest soldiers in the nation s 
list of great and good men. 

During General Taylor s limited term of office, his warm, per 
sonal interest was ever enduring, and when the hero of these 
memoirs was summoned to the bedside of his prostrate friend 
there was no heart in that assemblage that beat in greater sym 
pathy than did that of Col. Dan Rice in those supreme minutes 
when the President s life went out to penetrate the mystery of the 
great unknown. Colonel Rice was solicited to act as one of the 
pallbearers at the obsequies, which honor he was, unavoidably, 
unable to serve. It has indeed been well said " He was the 
noblest Roman of them all. His life was gentle, and the ele 
ments so mix d in him, that Nature might stand up and say to all 
the world, i This was a man! : 

In pronouncing his eulogy on General Taylor, the Hon. John 
Marshall said that he was " great, without pride; cautious, with 
out fear; brave, without rashness; stern, without harshness; mod 
est, without bashfulness; apt, without flippancy; sincere and 
honest as the sun." 

General Scott, who also knew him well, paid a fine tribute when 
he said, " He had the true basis of a great character, pure, in 
corrupt morals combined with indomitable courage; kind- 
hearted, sincere, and hospitable in a plain way, he had no vice or 
prejudice; many friends, and left behind him not an enemy in 
the world." 

In the spring of this same season, 1848, on the occasion of a 
benefit tendered him by the citizens of New Orleans, Mr. Rice 
was the recipient of a massive gold medal presented by a com 
mittee representing some of the best business and social elements 
of the Crescent City. It was executed by the firm of H. E. Bald 
win & Co., the Tiffany of those days, in that section.. The gem 
was surmounted by an exquisitely wrought racehorse, with the 
rider in jockey dress, the whole being beautifully jewelled and 
enamelled. 

On one side was the inscription " Presented to Mr. Dan Rice, 



112 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

the Shakespearian Jester, as a mark of esteem for private worth 
and of admiration for professional talent. New Orleans, March 
4, 1848." On the reverse side is Mr. Rice s crest with the inscrip 
tion " Filius Moini " Son of Mirth and beneath a careworn 
face, with a branch of birch between, significant of Dan Rice s 
success in brushing away dull care. The medal was presented in 
behalf of the donors, in the presence of 5,000 people, by Mr. 
Foster, a brilliant young A 7 irginia lawyer, in the spring of 1848. 
From New Orleans Mr. Rice went to St. Louis in the spring 
of 1849, where he met with an overwhelming demonstration. 
Parades and banquets were given in his honor. On the last night 
of his appearance, while the pavilion was crowded to its utmost 
capacity, the Missouri Fire Company presented the " Prince of 
Clowns, of managers, and good fellows," with a splendid silver 
cup. 

During the performance, at a suitable opportunity, Mr. J. A. 
Valentine entered the ring and, advancing towards Mr. Rice, 
made him the following neat and appropriate address: 

" Mr. Rice. As a slight return for the kindness you have 
shown them, and as a token of respect to your professional merit 
and to your private worth, the members of the Missouri Fire 
Company, through me, desire to present you with this cup. They 
beg of you to accept it as a token of their friendship and esteem, 
and allow me to add upon my own responsibility, sir, that I sin 
cerely trust fifty years hence you may be able to quaff your wine 
from it, in hale health and fine spirits." 

To which Mr. Rice answered: 

" Mr. Valentine. This spontaneous expression of the good 
feeling entertained toward me by the Missouri Fire Company is 
indeed as gratifying as it was unlocked for. I am highly de 
lighted if my efforts to please here have met with their approba 
tion. I shall always endeavor to retain their good opinion. To 
this compliment as to my professional merit I will say that it 
has always been my aim to improve the style of humor of the 
arena, and I am glad to see that those efforts have met with appro 
bation. To their declarations of private esteem I can only say 
that from my heart I thank them kindly." 

Mr. Rice with his company then proceeded to Cincinnati in the 
steamer " Jewess," having disposed of the steamboat " Allegheny 
Mail," and met there his silent partner, G. R. Spaulding, who 
had, during Mr. Rice s southern engagement, organized a large 
wagon show, with which to continue the enterprise in Northern 
territory, which was to be opened at Pittsburg. 

During the succeeding two years, 1850-1851, the great humor 
ist, after an absence of two seasons made a tour of the Northern 
States. His appearance in New York State was the signal for a 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 113 

most extraordinary series of home-welcomings. His startling 
successes, however., proved the cause of a most sensational hap 
pening. 

Since he had last appeared in his native State, he had encoun 
tered many mishaps, and enemies had done their utmost to crush 
him. For a brief period his foes had exulted over his apparently 
hapless fortunes, but they knew not the man with whom they had 
to deal. Misfortunes only served to develop his true character, 
and the indomitable spirit which existed within him enabled him 
to rise from adversity and triumph over the machinations of those 
who sought to destroy him. The tact and genius which nature 
had so lavishly bestowed on him won for him a world of friend 
ships, and so while the engines of persecution had been working 
against him, he had been steadily growing in public favor. His 
fame as a fighter, as well as a fun-maker, had preceded him. The 
relentless revenge with which Spaulding and Van Orden had pur 
sued him, only served to keep him more closely in touch with the 
popular heart. On every side he was met by the most enthusi 
astic manifestation of respect and esteem. 

Whilst Mr. Rice was exhibiting at Rochester in the fall of 1850, 
Spaulding and Van Orden, lashed to fury by the great success 
everywhere attending their former associate s enterprises and the 
consequent failures of their own exhibitions, on a trumped-up 
charge of alleged slander, procured a warrant for the arrest of 
Rice, and had him incarcerated in the so-called " Blue Eagle " 
Jail. The sheriff who executed the warrant was known as 
" Wooden-leg " Chamberlain. 

Dan Rice did more to increase the fame of the " Blue Eagle " 
Jail than any other living man. He it was who christened it the 
" Blue Eagle/ 7 the name by which it has been known all over the 
country. Dan Rice was arrested by Sheriff Chamberlain, and 
confined in the " Blue Eagle " in the fall of 1850, and the ex 
planation and history of his confinement he gives in his once 
famous song given below. This song was written on the wall of 
the jail by Rice himself, and the words herewith were taken from 
a copy made many years ago, and is supposed to be the only one 
now in existence. The writing has become so faded by age that 
it was almost impossible to decipher it, in fact parts of the last 
two lines have entirely disappeared. It has been stated that the 
inscriptions made by Mr. Rice on the jail wall are still visible. 
This statement is erroneous, because many years afterwards it 
was entirely obliterated. Visitors to the jail would invariably 
inquire which was the cell Dan Rice, the clown, occupied. So 
popular was the song that persons of all ages and sexes were 
wrought up to such a state of excitement and sympathy, that 
they would shed tears, and for years Rice could never get out 
8 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

of the ring without singing that song visiting the same places 
annually. Parents would sing the song and transmit it to their 
children, and some are still singing it to-day in many places in 
California and Oregon. The song was written to the air of the 
" Landlord s Pet/ an old English tune. 

THE SONG: 

Kind gentlefolks, all give ear to my ditty, 

While I relate a sad tale, 
What happened to me in Kochester City 

Where I was in " Blue Eagle " jail; 
But to tell you the cause, and the cause of the cause 

It would cause you to sit here some time, 
But as you and I do not wish to cry, 

Therefore I will be brief in my rhyme. 

A man named Van Orden, I d have you to know, 

Who was at one time my agent, 
He stole my farm and stole my show, 

And robbed me of every cent; 
And because I told the public so, 

It raised this gentleman s dander; 
So at Pittsford, in the County Monroe, 

He had me arrested for slander. 

I being a stranger, and unknown in town, 

Therefore I knew no bail, 
So the sheriff straightway took the clown 

Down to " Blue Eagle " jail. 
And my bail when it came could be no better, 

It came from Albany town; 
Accompanying it was the lawyer s letter 

Saying, " It is good bail for the clown." 

But there I stayed for one long week, 

Because they would not take my bail. 
I believe the sheriff and Van were colleagued 

And determined to keep me in jail. 
For which I blowed them up sky high 

Every night played in the town, 
And stated facts they could not deny. 

All about their misusing the clown. 

The citizens then did all complain 

Of the sheriff who used me so mean. 
Their names were Pardee and Chamberlain, 

Two of the meanest men ever seen. 



REMINISCENCES OF -DAN BICE 115 

I know they were prevailed on to refuse bail 

By Mr. Van Orden & Co., 
And there I was kept in the " Blue Eagle " jail, 

By " Dot and go one " of Monroe. 

For my appearance at court I then did give bail. 

A bail they could not refuse, 
And I bid farewell to the " Blue Eagle " jail, 

The moment that I was let loose. 
So here I am as you do see 

These matters to explain, 
I am determined to show up rascality 

If they put me in the " Blue Eagle " again! 

In exposing Van Orden, I never will cease 

As long as my name it is Dan, 
He had me arrested for saying that he was a thief, 

Which I am to prove, and I can, 
For he knows full well it is the truth I tell, 

For a greater villain than he never run, 
So on my fortune he cuts a great swell, 

Which money was made by my fun. 

So good gentlemen here, and kind ladies all, 

It is now I must close up my song 
Of my ups and downs on the raging canal, 

And how I have been getting along; 
But one word I must say before I go away, 

And then my song is at an end: 
If you would avoid a-going astray, 

Never trust too much to a friend. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

JESTER AND JUDGE A CLOSE CALL RICE^S REMARKABLE 
NERVE THE "YANKEE YAHOO " A STATE SECRET 
SPAULDING AND ROGERS* TREACHERY FOILED BY THE 
PILOT IN THE ARKANSAS WILDERNESS DAN RICE HIS 
OWN ADVANCE AGENT MEETING WITH TOM MAY, THE 
WESTERN OUTLAW A SENSATIONAL EPISODE THE START 
LING SEQUEL TO A DREAM THE SNUFF-DIPPER ? S STORY. 

WHEN the winter season closed in the latter part of March, 
1852, the Great Show started North, exhibiting along 
the Mississippi and Ohio Eivers, and eventually brought up at 



116 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

St. Louis the following August. Among the many spicy adven 
tures which served to enliven the homeward journey, two inci 
dents are worthy of more than passing notice. While exhibiting 
in New Madrid, Mo., the local Justice of the Peace, a veritable 
" Poo-Bah " in that section, came shambling down to the circus 
in cowhides and clay-pipe outfit, looking more like a hobo than 
a Lord High " Executioner " of justice. 

Colonel Eice took exception to his tramp-like tendency to 
shuffle and lounge about, and, of course, not knowing who he 
was, ordered him away. On his refusal to go, Mr. Rice handled 
him pretty roughly in the process of ejection. The old judge 
left, vowing vengeance. 

In about an hour a messenger came hurrying to the circus and 
informed the Colonel that the judge was coming down with a 
pistol to shoot him. As soon as the latter heard the name of the 
object of his wrath mentioned by his friend he recalled the mem 
ories of many a desperate encounter in which the grizzly " fire- 
eater " had figured. Rice was inclined at first to avoid a collision, 
but when the justice came swaggering down the wharf, horse- 
pistol in hand, and filling the atmosphere with sundry hints about 
" Yankee Yahoos," etc., Colonel Rice hurried down the gangway 
of the steamboat and, snatching the " shooting iron " from the 
grasp of the man, deliberately fired its contents into the air. Then 
turning to the thoroughly rattled justice, he handed the gun 
back, remarking, " Here, judge, is your pepper-box. I am Dan 
Rice." The former was stumped. The latter, however, with a 
tactful eye to business, the circus opening that night, extended his 
hand and invited the dispenser of justice to join him in a drink. 
Explanations followed and many other things until the " wee 
hours " of the morning at the conclusion of the performance. 

The judicial gentleman above referred to afterwards became a 
very pillar of strength in the national politics of the country. 
For obvious reasons his name is not disclosed. 

The other adventure previously referred to happened while 
en route a few days later. Spaulding and Rogers had constructed 
at Cincinnati a floating amphitheatre, or " Marine Palace/ em 
bracing a ring, auditorium, etc., wherein they gave performances. 
The undertaking, however, was operated at a heavy loss, and was 
finally abandoned. 

As the reader may recall, a bitter rivalry had existed since 1849 
between Spaulding, Van Orden & Co. and the Great Jester. The 
latter waged war against his enemies on legitimate lines as an 
honest competitor; the former carried on their campaign against 
him through disreputable methods. They, failing to compete 
successfully, inaugurated a system of persecuting opposition, be 
setting him with the tricks and devices and cowardly resources 



KEMIXISCENCES OF DAN RICE 117 

characteristic of the guerilla. It was rule or ruin, a question 
of the survival of the fittest. It was a most costly struggle for 
supremacy, carried as it was for four long years, entailing an 
outlay of over one hundred thousand dollars by Colonel Rice. 

They resorted to every contemptible stratagem to injure one 
whom they frequently tried, but failed, to ruin. An instance in 
point. It appears they were a day ahead of Rice s show on the 
Mississippi. On the way to Caseyville the " Marine Palace " ran 
aground. It took them nearly a day to sheer off, when, in order 
to place Rice s in a similar predicament, they anchored the buoys 
so as to effect that result, and then hove to three or four miles 
above to await developments. But the pilot, Allan Sutton, quickly 
noticing the displacement of the buoys, slowed the boat, ordered 
the lead to be heaved, and, striking the channel, passed safely on. 
It was a very transparent trick, and so, as the Rice boat steamed 
past the u Palace," the latter was greeted with ironical cheers. 
The following song, illustrative of the event, was composed and 
sung by Mr. Rice at the next stopping place: 

Some New York sharps, I d have you know, 

They struck upon a plan 
They built a boat on the river to float 

To ruin this old fool Dan, 
And as they failed in previous attempts, 

And found it was no go, 
They surely thought the " Palace " would prevent 

Success to the one-horse show. 
And oh, the one-horse show, my boys, 

It is the show for fun; 
And like this country s motto, 

You find us " many in one." 

This floating scow from Cincinnati, 

Which passed here the other day, 
The mechanics there that did work at her 

Did not get all their pay, 
Notwithstanding they were told 

By Messrs. Van Orden & Co. 
That Commodore Spanieling had plenty of gold 

To ruin the one-horse show. 
And now, if he has plenty of gold, 

Then I should like to know 
"Why the " Palace " was attached and nearly sold 

By the friends of the one-horse show. 

They try to ring the public in 
By a church-bell chime, 



118 REMINISCENCES Ol 1 DAN E1CE 

And after you have paid your money, 

All you hear is an organ grind, 
Which squeaks and squalls most mournfully, 

And makes a doleful sound, 
And seems to say, " Oh, sinners pray, 

Why the devil don t you kneel down 
And prepare to meet your fate; " 

Which I tell them is below, 
Or return to Dan before it s too late, 

What belongs to him and his one-horse show. 

They tried to catch me in a trap 

As I left Shawneytown; 
At Caseyville they laid false buoys 

To lead me hard aground, 
But Allan Button was wide-awake, 

And knew the channel to a spot; 
Says he, " Old Zac can never be caught 

In such a shallow plot." 
Our manager, Whitbeck, stood on our deck 

A-laughing at the " Scow," 
His compliments to Spaulding sent, 

To beware of the one-horse show. 

It s now we are over Treadwater Bar, 

All dirty tricks we shun, 
We always keep in channel deep, 

And follow the rising sun. 
So you wealthy men on the floating scow, 

To the breeze unfold your flag, 
But do not touch the one-horse show, 

For it s an awful snag. 
So leave me alone, keep to yourselves, 

To break me is no go, 
For the joke is out, when Dan s about 

With his awful one-horse show. 

It was in the spring of 1852, after a season of the hardest work 
the great clown had ever accomplished in fighting his old antag 
onists, Spaulding and Van Orden. He arranged the route for 
his " One-Horse Show " on the river to secure for himself a 
month s respite to recuperate, as he was almost exhausted, both 
in mind and body, with the heavy demands upon his artistic 
powers, in filling nearly a six months season of the most ex 
traordinary efforts of his life of vagaries and in accomplishing the 
success of defeating his enemies, driving them out of the " Old 




FREDERICK WALLET1, THE ENGLISH CLOWN 



REMINISCENCES OP DAN RICE 119 

American Theatre/ they absconding under the cover of darkness 
to the city of Mobile. He had arranged for his agent, Fred 
Hunt, to advertise the river, leaving out all the large towns, as 
far as Napoleon, taking only plantations on the way, and giving 
only afternoon performances each day, as the planters would not 
permit their slaves to be out at night. But Hunt, not favoring 
the idea of subjecting himself to the dangerous element that in 
fested Arkansas, declined to advertise the interior; so Mr. Rice 
concluded to fill his place, and represent the interests of his 
profession, by becoming his own agent. He therefore gave in 
structions to the management what course to pursue on the route, 
leaving out the cities, as his absence in the ring would have 
proved disastrous in prominent places, and proceeded on his 
journey alone, taking with him a case of show bills. 

He took the steamer " Xatchez " at New Orleans, and, as he 
himself was commander of the circus boat " The United States 
Aid," it was most fitting for Capt. Dan Eice to become the guest 
of Capt. Tom Leathers, commander of the " Natchez." Mr. 
Rice intended to go as far as Chico, now called Arkansas City, 
and during the journey was introduced to Mr. Shears, whom Cap 
tain Leathers called his " most honored friend/ and requested 
him, when they reached Chico, to " Let Dan have a team of horses 
to drive through the country, for he wants to advertise his One- 
Horse Show in all the towns up the Arkansas River as far as 
Fort Smith, and he will ship them back to you from Memphis 
by boat. And I ll stand good for it." 

And now began the journey by land. Arriving at a settle 
ment, now called Monticello, consisting of a few habitations, and 
about thirty miles from Arkansas City, he next day proceeded 
to Pine Bluff, a distance of fifty miles; thence to Little Rock, the 
capital of the great State of " bowie knives," but which is now, 
in 1900, one of the most peaceful, progressive, productive, and 
hospitable states in the grand constellation. Mr. Rice adver 
tised the rest of the towns as far as Van Buren, six miles below 
Fort Smith, where the news came by stage that the river was 
rapidly falling, and it would be disastrous to make any attempt 
to ascend the Arkansas. He then engaged a messenger who was 
highly recommended by the landlord of the hotel, as the best 
man he could secure for the requirements of the case, as he was 
well acquainted with the whole country and knew the character 
istics of its people. He was sent with a letter of instructions to 
the manager pro tern, of the show, and was to await its arrival 
at Napoleon, a town at the mouth of the Arkansas River. From 
there the management went to Helena, and Mr. Hunt preceded 
it to Memphis, to advertise it for one week. 

Stopping at the same hotel there was an agent of General Ross, 



120 BEMINISCENCES OF DAN HICE 

the chief of the Cherokee Indians, who was on his way to Nash 
ville, Tenn., and as a couple of days would elapse before the 
arrival of the stage, at the suggestion of the landlord, Mr. Eice 
consented to give the Ross agent a seat in his wagon as far as 
Batesville, a distance of one hundred or more miles. In fact 
he was glad of the agent s company, for hitherto he had been 
travelling alone; circus agents at that time doing their work 
singly, without the assistance of a staff of employees equal to that 
of an army general, as is the system now in vogue. Well, they 
started in the afternoon and remained that night at the house 
of a farmer, eighteen miles distant. This man, Tom May, bore 
the reputation of having killed several men, and, at one time, 
belonged to the notorious Murrell gang of land pirates. 

After the evening repast they were ushered in the dim twi 
light to a loft, where a couple of cots and straw beds were pre 
pared for them to pass the night. It was early in the evening, 
but candles or lamps would have been deemed extravagant luxu 
ries, not to be indulged in, or even thought of, in Tom May s 
household. However, the weather was quite cool and the rough 
roads that impeded their travel had predisposed them to sleep, 
which they did soundly until about four o clock in the morning, 
when Mr. Eice was awakened by the Indian agent, who asked if 
he had observed any one enter the loft during the night. Mr. 
Eice, half asleep, replied in the negative, and was turning over 
to finish his nap when the agent said that some one had robbed 
him of his belt. 

At this information Mr. Eice became wide-awake, and excitedly 
rising from his cot, inquired of the agent what he meant. Show 
ing a red mark around his waist, evidently the impression made by 
a girdle, he replied that it was gone, and that it contained notes 
and gold to the amount of ten thousand dollars, which had been 
intrusted to him to purchase supplies for the Indian Nation. 
After this there was no more sleep for Mr. Eice, who rose and 
made an ineffectual search in the agent s cot for the missing belt. 
A knowledge of the bad reputation of Tom May, the landlord, 
caused them to form the conclusion that during the night he had 
entered the room and taken it from the agent s person. The 
latter had a forlorn hope that it might have become unbuckled 
the night previous, while at Van Buren, and had slipped from 
his waist to the bed while he slept. Meanwhile, during this un 
certainty, Mr. Eice was most unhappy, for he was jealous of his 
character and reputation, and he naturally concluded that the 
loss of such a considerable sum of money by a roommate would 
cast reflection of suspicion upon him, especially as circus people 
then, as now, did not bear a too immaculate reputation. He 
therefore offered to drive the agent back to Van Buren to investi- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 121 

gate the affair of the lost belt, and declining the breakfast of corn 
dodgers and rusty bacon which the Indian agent, despite his loss, 
appeared to relish, he hastened to the barn, harnessed his horses, 
and then drove to the house to settle his bill. He was surprised 
to meet the agent at the farmhouse door with his face wreathed 
with smiles. " I have found my belt! " he excitedly exclaimed. 
u How? Where was it?" asked Mr. Eice, equally excited. 
" Well," said the agent, u I ll tell you. While sitting at break 
fast I all at once remembered a dream I had during the night. I 
thought that Tom May was after my money and I arose, and 
standing upon the cot, unbuckled my belt and thrust it among 
the rafters overhead. This dream, as I have said, occurred to me 
while eating, and I immediately went up to the loft, and, standing 
upon the cot, I thrust my arm among the rafters, and, sure 
enough, it was there." 

This, to Mr. Rice, was an agreeable finale to that which had 
threatened to become a serious adventure. Had the agent not 
remembered the dream, the belt might have remained hidden 
until this day, or, until the house was eventually torn down to give 
place to a more pretentious dwelling in the progressing age. 
And Mr. Rice and old Tom May would have remained mutually 
suspicious of each other through the circumstantial evidence of 
guilt. He often met Tom in after years at his woodyard several 
miles below Little Rock on the Arkansas River, where he pur 
chased a large tract of timber land. Having previously lost his 
wife, he lived there a hermit life, managing his woodyard and 
negro slaves. 

The exciting scenes of that night caused the Indian agent to 
change his plans, and he decided to retrace his steps, deeming the 
journey to Batesville too hazardous to venture. He also advised 
Mr. Rice to do the same, pointing out the perils of the route 
through that rough and lawless country. But Mr. Rice was 
guided by his native courage, and decided to carry out his pre 
viously matured plans, and proceeded on the journey. The agent 
finding his advice of no avail, hired Tom May to take him back 
to Van Buren, and thus Mr. Rice parted with him and never saw 
or heard of him afterward. 

On the way to Batesville he passed through the most poverty- 
stricken and benighted country that ever befell the fate of a 
traveller, and one that even a man of experience would not be 
anxious to revisit again. But being possessed of an indomitable 
will he pressed onward until evening, and as he had travelled 
many miles and saw no cabins in sight, he was fearful of having 
to remain in the woods until daylight. Still continuing on in 
the darkness, he, all at once, heard the barking of dogs, and was 
overjoyed to find by a dim light that a habitation was near. He 



122 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 

approached a good-sized cabin, when a pack of hounds came 
bounding out to make it known that a stranger was near. Mr. 
Eice halted near the cabin and a tall woman appeared to put an 
end to the canine pandemonium. He asked the lady if it would 
be convenient for her to allow him to remain during the night 
and furnish him with supper and have the horses fed and shel 
tered. She replied that if he could put up with the accommoda 
tions she had to offer., he was quite welcome to stay, but would 
have to look after his own horses, as her " man is away, and thar s 
no tellin when he ll git home, fur he went to Batesville to tend 
the lection." While the horses were being fed and attended the 
hostess busied herself in preparing the evening meal, which con 
sisted of pork and hoe-cake, and a very mild ingredient to which 
she gave the exhilarating name of coffee. However, it was all 
very acceptable to Mr. Kice, who rather enjoyed the novelty of the 
occasion, and his humorous propensities were ever on the alert 
to make the best of the situation that was forced upon him by 
a series of circumstances. 

While he was enduring the repast with all the fortitude of his 
nature, the conversation that had also proved meagre in its de 
tails began to lag until it reached a point where Mr. Eice sought 
to enliven it by his ingenious, happy faculties. By way of a 
preliminary, he asked the woman if she had a family, and being 
informed that she was the mother of six children, he brought his 
observation to bear upon the individual before him, and found 
her to be a. tall, gaunt creature whose pale face and pinched fea 
tures betrayed the results of a life warped by the fate of surround 
ing circumstances. 

The conversation continued to prove so uninteresting in its 
nature that it finally ceased entirely, so there was no other alter 
native for our hero but to submit to the inevitable. 

As the time wore on and night advanced, the monotony in 
creased, and the woman, weary with waiting for her husband, fell 
asleep in Mr. Eice s presence. While his mind was ruminating 
on his strange adventures and dwelling on the possibilities of his 
business prospects in that wild district, the sleeping woman all 
at once gave a most appalling shriek, which not only awakened 
her from slumber, but also startled the weary traveller from his 
reveries. With that bewildering air that comes to the suddenly 
awakened sleeper, the woman exclaimed, " Jim, did you kill that 
cowardly cuss that insulted me? " But, recognizing at last the 
fact that she was addressing a stranger instead of her husband, 
and being aware that he could not return without her knowledge, 
she remarked by way of apology, that she " hed bin dreamin , and 
would go to bed," which she did, wishing him a good night s rest. 
Before she left the room, however, Mr. Eice, having a curiosity to 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 123 

know of whose hospitality he was partaking, asked his hostess 
to inform him as to whom her husband was, and she told him that 
his name was u Jim May, brother of Tom May, who lives a few 
miles from Van Buren." 

Our hero was uneasy at this startling news, and debated in his 
mind whether it was quite prudent to remain under a roof whose 
master was one of the notorious Mays who raided the country in 
connection with a lawless gang that brought terror to the re 
spectable element, and threatened individual safety. He at once 
concluded that he was in a very dangerous position, particularly 
if the man May should return and find him a guest in his home; 
but, being naturally gifted with a courage that was always ready 
to adjust circumstances as the present required, he prepared him 
self for any emergency that would be likely to meet him unawares. 
So holding his revolver by his side with his finger on the trigger, 
he felt that he was comparatively secure, and tried to banish all 
thoughts of the unpleasant situation, endeavoring, at the same 
time, " to woo the drowsy god to his embrace/ 

All at once the dogs outside began to bark, and the noise 
created such a state of excitement that Mr. Rice was impressed 
with the idea that May had returned, and, should he be seen by 
the outlaw, had his trusty weapon ready to meet any aggressive 
demonstration from the desperate fellow, and also preserved an 
outward calm that would have deceived even Jim May himself. 
But it proved to be a false alarm, however, for the dogs soon 
ceased barking, and everything around and about the cabin set 
tled into quiet and repose. The night was well advanced and he 
was beginning to feel an assurance that circumstances would so 
shape themselves that all trouble would be avoided should the 
man chance to return. And without any further apprehension 
in regard to the possibilities that might occur, he again tried to 
woo the god of slumber. As the moment of forgetful ness was 
near at hand and the experiences of the night previous were be 
coming obliterated, our weary traveller was again aroused by a 
muffled noise in the adjoining apartment, and, while conjecturing 
as to its cause, in a moment he was startled by seeing a tall, white 
figure emerge from the room with a bundle in its arms. It si 
lently approached the fireplace and, bending over the hearth, 
rolled the bundle in some loose ashes and then quietly retired. 
This strange, peculiar proceeding tended still further to banish 
sleep, and Mr. Rice lay cogitating upon it, when he again heard 
a repetition of the same noise emanating from the room, and 
from it emerged the figure with, apparently, the same bundle in 
her arms. The operation was again performed by rolling it in 
the ashes and a silent disappearance as in the former case. After 
these singular proceedings nothing more occurred to disturb the 



124 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

stillness of the remaining night, and soon the day began to dawn, 
much to the relief of Mr. Rice, who was thoroughly exhausted by 
his experiences of the past two days. He took leave of his hostess 
at the earliest possible moment, when she said to him as he took 
his departure, " Stranger, if you meet my man, Jim, on your way 
to Batesville, don t tell him you stayed all night here, fur he s 
orful jealous of me! " Mr. Eice told her that she might rest as 
sured that he would never mention it to any one. And he gave 
double assurance in his expression when he remembered what 
she had uttered in her delirious dream. Still having a desire to 
satisfy his curiosity as to the strange proceedings of the past 
night, he said to the woman at parting, " Will you tell me the 
reason why you came into the room so many times during the 
night, and each time rolled a bundle of something in the loose 
ashes on the hearth?" " Oh," she replied, "we ve hed a long 
drout. No rain fur several months, an ther little spring nigh 
a mile away jes gives nuff to drink, and bile yams, an it s rily at 
thet. So you see I can t wash clo es or nothin else an the 
children are so greasy an dirty, they slip out of the bed, an when 
they do, I hev to get up an roll them in the ashes to make em 
stick to the bedclo es." From what our hero saw in that forlorn 
household during his forced sojourn there, he knew the poor 

" snuff dipping " woman had told the truth. 

********* 

In the winter of 1852 while exhibiting in New Orleans (in 
Frenchtown), Spaulding & Rogers, who were still dogging with 
vengeful persistence the path of the Great Clown, came along 
with their " combination " and " staked " their canvas on an ad 
joining lot, expecting to play a successful game of freeze-out. 
But the people would have none of them. In two days Uncle 
Dan called their hands, and so, in the vernacular of the " green- 
cloth," chilled feet resulted. 

Spaulding had with him at that time the great English clown, 
William F. Wallett. The dressing-rooms of the two shows were 
not far apart. Between the acts, the famous American Clown, 
as well known for his magnanimity as for his genius, in motley 
garb, invited Wallett to come into his circus and he would intro 
duce him. Arm in arm the two clowns walked into the ring in the 
garb of their respective nationalities. After the introduction, 
Uncle Dan made a brief speech, saying he considered Mr. Wallett 
a personal friend and hoped he would meet with a cordial welcome 
from the citizens of the Crescent City, and begged to assure that 
gentleman that as long as he remained on American soil he should 
never go hungry for the lack of Rice. Wallett responded with 
his accustomed wit and repartee, assuring his American friend 
that his " Wallett " should ever be at his disposal. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 125 

A disagreement later on with Spaulding resulted in Mr. Eice 
securing Wallett s services for four weeks engagement, during 
which Rice and he alternately played clown and ringmaster to 
tremendous audiences. 



CHAPTEE XV. 

AT NEW ORLEANS INAUGURATION OF DAN RICE S MAMMOTH 
AMPHITHEATRE A REMARKABLE POPULAR UPRISING A 
UNIQUE DRAMATIC INCIDENT A CLOWN IN TEARS COL. 
RICE S TERRIBLE ARRAIGNMENT ORGANIZATION OF THE 
SOUTHERN MUSEUM. 

IX the fall of 1853, Colonel Eice erected on Charles Street, Xew 
Orleans, where the Academy of Music now stands, one of the 
most magnificent places of amusement ever constructed in the 
Crescent City. 

It was known as Dan Eice s Amphitheatre. In all probability 
it marked up to that time the most memorable epoch in his 
career. Despite the horror of the fact that the yellow fever was 
raging at this, period, counting its victims by the thousands, and 
that, as a consequence of the devastating pestilence, a panic had 
prostrated every branch of industry, the auditorium on the open 
ing night overflowed with the most enthusiastic audience that 
Colonel Eice says he had ever greeted in any section of the 
country. 

Colonel Eice delivered the following characteristic extempo 
raneous prologue on that occasion: 

Yes, my kind friends, I am here in Xew Orleans. 

And at the thought fond memory pictures many scenes. 

This theatre of my trials, triumphs, fortune, fame, 

All good that clusters round my humble name. 

Xay, start not, politician, sage, or hero, 

A clown may have a fame as well as Xero, 

Byron, Payne, or any other elf, 

Born to annoy the world and to confound himself. 

The jester s name on page historic glows 

In colors bright and happy, but the woes 

Of fellow mortals ne er come down 

To make him famous, or to give renown; 

And is its mention worthy of your sneers, 

Because it is not built on orphans cries or maidens tears? 

But I ll not argue mine s above all measure, 

It fills my purse, so tis a priceless treasure; 



126 EEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

And if to posterity it never descends, 
Your presence here to-night makes all amends. 
So to my task, for it is my delight 
To see you here, as it will be every night, 
And as your acquaintance I wish much longer, 
May friendship s bond each day grow stronger. 
Mine be the task, with all my might and main, 
To shake cobwebs of care from every brain, 
Bid Father Time his wrinkled front undo, 
And as his step is noiseless, be it trackless too, 
Nor leave his footprint rough, on beauty s brow 
Or manhood s lofty front; so cheer up now, 
Bring in the horse and let the fun begin, 
For if there s fun about, be sure Dan s in. 

After the performance had proceeded a most sensational inci 
dent aroused the vast audience to an extraordinary pitch of ex 
citement, recalling with painful vividness the persecutions with 
which Spaulding and Van Orden had dogged Rice s steps, bring 
ing utter ruin not only to his professional enterprises but to his 
domestic relations. Hundreds of personal friends of the Colonel 
in that great throng, keenly sensitive of all the details of the 
fierce antagonism and revengeful rivalry of his former partners, 
when the great clown reappeared in the arena, greeted him with 
a veritable cyclone of cheers, alternated with derisive cries, in 
which the names of Spaulding and Van Orden figured with venge 
ful emphasis, " Go for them, Dan "; " Pillory the pirates "; " Let 
rip on the blackmailers," and scores of similar questionable com 
pliments echoed and reechoed through the vast enclosure. A 
thousand throats took up the cry; again and again Colonel Rice 
sought to stay the tide with courteous but deprecatory gestures, 
but the throng would not be denied. The Prince of Jesters was 
visibly affected. His eyes and voice, but a moment before beam 
ing with brilliant bon mots and jest-provoking laughter, grew 
dim and husky. The jester and the man fought it out for a few 
minutes; the former was overwhelmed. The man met the occa 
sion. Choking with emotion Colonel Rice made the following 
impassionate address: 

Ladies and Gentlemen: A strange fate has been mine since I 
last had the honor of appearing before you, and I learn that those 
who were the instruments of that fate have been most busy in 
attempts to poison the minds of the citizens of this place against 
me, otherwise I should not intrude my private affairs upon your 
notice. These people say they started me in business. So they 
did, and to me most disastrous business, for I was called by them 



: __m^w+Jf^^^JAlTWAM-JJj&-tt^itMMU*UMto 



RICE S 



DAN 



m 
til! 

SOUTHERN 



MUSEUM. 







JsEW ORLEANS 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN HICE 127 

from a very profitable engagement in Baltimore to New Orleans, 
to play for them. I went; when I got there, they first tried to 
cajole me into less favorable terms than they had offered me, but 
finally, finding that I was more important to them than they 
were to me, they came to terms, by which their shattered fortune 
was redeemed, as the good people of the South were pleased to 
favor me with their smiles, and money flowed to the coffers of the 
managers. After a while I wanted a settlement, as they owed 
me considerable money. Then it was they started me in busi 
ness, for, being unable to pay my claim, I was compelled to pur 
chase one-half of their old stock at a high price, and thus become 
a circus proprietor. You can appreciate the kindness of such a 
start. Well, we made money; fortune seemed to woo us in every 
way, and I thought myself rich, but I was deceived. I had given 
Mr. Van Orden most unlimited control of my affairs, and I too 
late found that where I vainly supposed bills had been paid, notes 
for payment, only had been given, as I had authorized him to 
sign my name. What became of the money I have yet to learn. 
But when I returned, under his charge, to Xew York, I found 
myself head over ears in debt, mostly on account of Van Orden 
& Spaulding. One curious matter will here present itself for 
your consideration as involving a new principle in arithmetic. 
Mr. Van Orden was my agent, and received for his services $100 
per month. He was not worth $10 when he started on that duty; 
lived like a prince while so engaged, and at the end of eighteen 
months brought me in debt $3,000, but he was both bookkeeper 
and treasurer. I leave you to ascertain what rule would work 
out such a result. 

While deluding me with the idea that I was rich, or, to speak 
more plainly, while he was perfecting his scheme of robbing, 
he persuaded me to let him be my agent in the purchase of a 
farm near Albany, a lovely place. I did so, and gave him the 
money to make the first payment, for I had been permitted to 
handle a little of my own money, and this it seems he wanted to 
get. The farm was bought and my family moved upon it. It 
was furnished and stocked at my expense, and the circus stock 
was placed there to winter, while it was agreed that I should go 
South and play a series of star engagements, such as have always 
been open to me. Previous to going. Van Orden suggested that 
I had better mortgage the personal property to Mr. Spaulding for 
fear some other creditors should take advantage of my absence 
and it should be sacrificed. The chief of these creditors, whom 
T was taught to regard as merciless, was my friend H. M. Whit- 
beck, by whose kindly aid I am able now to see you in spite of 
them. 

Having foolishly arranged all things to please them, I started 



128 KEMIXISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

South, and had been absent but a few days when I received a tele 
graphic despatch to the effect that Spaulding had foreclosed the 
mortgage, and that my family were left in the house and would 
be, in a few days, without the most common necessaries of life. 
I returned in haste, and by my presence stopped the sale, for, 
learning that I was there, neither of the gentlemen dared to show 
his face at a sale of their own appointment. Having, as I sup 
posed, put a quietus to this proceeding, again I started to fulfil my 
engagements. The next news I got was that the sale had been 
made; that Mr. Van Ordeii s father had claimed the farm as his 
property; that my family had been turned out of doors in mid 
winter, and that by a trick of the law I was a houseless wanderer. 
I hastened to Albany and there learned that the farm had never 
been deeded to me, but Mr. Van Orden, pocketing my money, 
had caused the farm to be deeded to his own father, who was 
then in possession. The offender was absent. How I burned 
with indignation, I leave you to guess. But I was moneyless, 
and, therefore, in law, helpless. I knew my only hope was to 
get money, therefore I took my wife s jewels, and upon them 
raised money to start another circus. But I learned to dread 
the tricking of these men so much that I now started in the name 
of F. Eossten, a boy whom I had raised, and who, I thought, was 
bound to me by so many ties of gratitude that I was safe in him. 
In this I was deceived they bought him. Stung to desperation, 
I denounced the whole party, told all the facts, and so incensed 
the community against them that they were scouted from society. 
They dared not retort one word while in a place where both were 
known. But waiting until I reached Eochester, in Xew York, 
where they thought 1 was not known, they pounced on me in a 
suit for slander, and Spaulding, by virtue of a bill of sale from 
Eossten, attached my property, an attachment which he has been 
pleased to release and quietly pay $1,000 rather than stand a trial. 
I was imprisoned, and, notwithstanding bail worth fifty times the 
amount required by the court was offered, I could not get a re 
lease for one week. As I have sued the sheriff for false imprison 
ment, this will all come out in good time. 

Again I thought myself free to pursue the even tenor of my 
way, and started to reach the sunny South where I knew there 
were warm hearts to welcome me. Soon after my arrival in 
Pittsburg I learned that Van Orden was there, and had sworn he 
would destroy me; that it was his and Spaulding s determination 
to do so; that for the purpose of pursuing me they had started a 
circus company, which was to pursue my track, and they were 
both to keep up a fire upon me until I was finally destroyed. 

I forthwith caused a writ for conspiracy to be issued against 
them, and they are now under bail to answer to that charge. 



EEMIXISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 129 

Learning some facts relative to a portion of money surreptitiously 
obtained and disposed of by Van Orden, 1 had him also arrested 
for larceny, and to both of these he must answer. 

I had with me at Pittsburg a performer of good qualities on 
horseback, but unprincipled. This man he hired and cajoled 
into a series of acts which have caused him to be arrested on a 
criminal charge of grave character. The party shot ahead of me 
down the river, and, I learn, have endeavored to spread a poison 
ous influence against rne. I therefore deem myself justifiable in 
all I have said. Xot that I ask any man s sympathy, or court 
any man s favor. If the public come to see me and my perform 
ance, I will try to satisfy them, and as far as this quarrel is con 
cerned, I wish your motto to be that of the ancient lawgiver, fiat 
just it ia, mat cesium. 

In the same year the Southern Museum was projected and 
organized by Colonel Rice. It was the first museum of any con 
siderable size ever opened in Xew Orleans, or, in fact, in the 
South, and it was a matter of general astonishment that such a 
place, combining in the Xorthern cities so many resources of 
amusement and instruction, with successful returns to the pro 
jectors, had not, long before, become one of the settled features 
of Xew Orleans. Colonel Rice seized the first opportunity to 
gratify the public desire and supply the vacuum, and by his enter 
prise and liberality, the Southern Museum was opened to the 
public for the first time on the 25th of January, 1853. An estab 
lishment of this kind, it is well known, demands years of labor, 
diligent research, extreme care, and a vast expense to make it 
complete, or even to bring it within any degree of completion. 

In fact, a museum never is complete so long as anything of a 
novel description can be added to its stores; but its organization 
of objects representing the multifarious departments of human 
knowledge, customs, history, etc., may be rendered perfect 
though on a skeleton plan, and it is then but a work of time and 
industry to fit up the ranks of the battalions of curiosities. 

The Southern Museum formed the nucleus, and its active and 
indefatigable proprietor constantly added to its resource. His 
agents were everywhere and lost no opportunity to increase the 
stores of the museum. Already two four-story, large brick build 
ings were required to give them proper display, and it needed 
but a brief inspection to convince the most careless onlooker 
that the hand and eye of one thoroughly cognizant of his diffi 
cult task had superintended the division and arrangement. Xot 
only dead, but living objects of natural history were there in 
numbers, and the student of all the " ologies " did not fail to 
find plentiful material for his investigations. 
9 



130 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

The museum was open to the public all the year round from 
9 A.M. to 9 P.M., the price of admission being twenty-five cents, 
children, fifteen cents cheap enough the little ones say to see 
" the live elephant stuffed with straw/ as the old joke has it. 

The following is a brief description of the amphitheatre, St. 
Charles Street, New Orleans: 

This large and elegant building, an accurate view of which is 
given by the engraver, was erected expressly for Colonel Rice, 
during the summer and fall of the year 1853 by Mr. Lawrason, 
owner of the property, one of the most prominent and respected 
citizens of New Orleans. It occupied a central and commanding 
position in that busiest and gayest of the Crescent City s many 
gay and busy thoroughfares, St. Charles Street, and its original 
and picturesque exterior immediately arrested the attention of 
every one who passed. Situated near the Southern Museum and 
the St. Charles Theatre, it presented a more elegant architecural 
appearance than either of those noted buildings, and, indeed, it 
had but few rivals, in this respect, in the entire city. The amphi 
theatre was designed for both equestrian and dramatic perform 
ances and possessed a large and solidly fitted up " ring " or 
" circle " where the bold rider has ample room for his feats of 
graceful or daring horsemanship, and where the jester par excel 
lence, Dan Rice himself, swayed night after night, in his motley 
garb, crowds of delighted listeners. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

CORDS OF WOOD AND 

RADO S LAVISH GENEROSITY MEETING WITH A FAMOUS 
LAWYER A TIMELY WARNING FATE OF THE INDIAN 
AGENT ASSASSINATION AND ROBBERY COL. RICE S START 
LING DISCOVERY TRACES FRUITS OF THE CRIME SILENCE 
AND SAFETY. 

IN Anril, 1853, Mr. Rice, after finishing the winter season in 
his amphitheatre in New Orleans, left the city to meet the 
appointments laid out by his advance agents in the cities and 
towns along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. In each 
place he was received with great enthusiasm by the public and 
with increased admiration and sympathy, as they had been kept 
informed as to the warfare with his common enemies, Spaulding 
and Van Orden. 

Mr. Rice then ascended the Arkansas River as far as Fort 
Smith, which he failed to do in the spring of 1852 on account of 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 131 

low water. Among the several yards at which he took wood 
was one several miles below Little Rock, at which he landed and 
informed the proprietor, " I want fourteen cords of wood. What 
is your price for the same, sir? " The individual addressed threw 
a careless glance at the speaker as he answered, " Two dollars 
a cord, sah." Mr. Rice knew the man at once, but gave no out 
ward sign of recognition. 

In the meantime the boat was made fast to the bank, and the 
men at once began transferring the wood to the boat, while the 
proprietor went on board. " Are you the captain of this yah boat, 
sah? " he asked. Mr. Rice replied, " Yes, sir; I am the captain of 
this boat." "All right, sah," he said; "have a drink, sah?" 
" No, sir; have a drink with me, sir," said Mr. Rice, who, having 
discovered that the man displayed two great horse pistols in his 
overcoat pockets, and knowing that he would possibly stop there 
again on his return trip, felt that it would be policy to treat 
the man with courtesy and great liberality. They then proceeded 
to the bar. They smoked their cigars while the men were load- 
ing the boat and indulged in a general conversation. Mr. Rice 
considered the situation and asked his visitor to take another 
drink, which he did, and Mr. Rice enjoyed another cigar, while 
his guest smoked his pipe, and, becoming quite social, he turned to 
the captain and asked, " What is yo business, sah ? " " I m a circus 
man, sir," said Mr. Rice, " and have my company and horses all 
on this boat." "Well, what circus is it, sah?" the man asked. 
" Dan Rice s Circus," was the answer. " By - , sah! I ve seen 
Dan Rice s Circus in New Orleans. He beats all the circus 
clowns I ever seen! Where is Dan?" he continued. "Well, 
I m Dan Rice," was the reply. " I m proprietor of this circus, 
and captain and owner of this steamboat, sir." He shook Mr. 
Rice s hand with much warmth and said, " Let s take another 
drink." Which expression was cut short as the last cord of wood 
was being put on board and the ready bell had rung. Said Mr. 
Rice, " My friend, go to the office and get your money, and sign 
a receipt." Seeing the money lying on the desk he signed the 
receipt and the clerk handed him the amount, which he counted 
and said, " You have paid me, sah, for fourteen cords of wood, 
and I want pay for twenty, sah." Mr. Rice said, " I think you are 
mistaken." "No, sah! I put twenty cords of wood on the bank, 
sah! " At the same time his hand fell on his pocket. Mr. Rice 
then said, " We ll have no more controversy about this matter, 
sir," and turning to the clerk, said, " Pay this gentleman 
twelve dollars more and take a receipt for same." To Mr. Rice s 
surprise, when the man came out of the office, he said, " Captain, 
call all your men up to this bar, pah: while I call my niggers, 
sah! " and he kept drinking with them. Mr. Rice called all the 



132 REMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

service of the boat: the pilot, engineers, firemen., deck-hands, 
grooms, canvasmen, and, finally, the performers, and this curious 
individual then insisted upon champagne for the ladies. His 
bill of fifty dollars he readily paid without offering one word of 
remonstrance. The bell now rang for starting. The master 
with his slaves got ashore, and, being exceedingly hilarious, they 
gave three cheers for the circus. The master shouted, " Captain 
Dan, stop and see me on your way down the river, and don t 
forget it! " As the boat steamed away up the river, Mr. Rice s 
mind was filled with anxious, gloomy thoughts of the dark, hor 
rible deeds committed by this man, who was the notorious Tom 
May, and especially as to the fate of the Indian agent of General 
Ross. 

Landing at Little Rock Sunday evening, May 1, 1853, he was 
advertised to perform for one week. Having enjoyed the journey 
up the river to the fullest extent, and participating in the pleas 
ures of never-ending changes that naturally attend such a trip, 
Mr. Rice was therefore in excellent condition, and his recupera 
tive powers perfect. Before leaving New Orleans he had received 
several letters of introduction to prominent people in various parts 
of the country through which he had to pass, and among them 
was one from Mayor Grossman, of the City of New Orleans, to the 
Hon. Albert Pike, the distinguished lawyer of Little Rock, which 
letter Mr. Rice presented, and was received with due recognition 
and respect, and was introduced to some of the most prominent 
citizens of the capital city, who called on Albert Pike at his big 
log-cabin home to be presented to the famous clown, who was 
Mr. Pike s guest during his week s stay. The friendship formed 
at that time continued until the death of Mr. Pike, that grand 
specimen of Dame Nature s choice labors. During the week, in 
the social intercourse with his distinguished host, Mr. Rice 
thought he had discovered what had become of General Ross 
Indian agent. After telling Mr. Pike of his experience at a wood- 
yard several miles below the city, that gentleman remarked, 
" Friend Rice, I sold to that man a thousand acres of timber land 
where that woodyard stands, and it seems a sacrilege almost to 
see those great, mammoth trees of walnut, white oak, cherry, and 
other valuable woods cut down to be burned on the steamboats." 
Mr. Rice remarked, " You must have got a good price for it ? " 
" Well, yes, 5 was the answer. " I got five dollars per acre for it." 
" How long is it, Mr. Pike, since you sold this land? " He re 
plied, " About nine months ago." Mr. Rice said, " Will you ex 
cuse me, sir, for being so inquisitive, but what kind of money 
was it you received? " He replied, " In gold and bank bills on 
the Canal Bank of New Orleans." Mr. Rice remarked, " That 
settles it! Many thanks, Mr. Pike; I think I now know the fate 



REMINISCENCES OF CAN RICH loo 

of General Ross Indian agent! " That gentleman showed his 
surprise when he asked, " Why, Friend Rice, do you know this 
man who is proprietor of the woodyard? " " Yes, sir, I do/ was 
the answer, * and his brother Jim, also! " Mr. Pike asked 
quickly, " Who are they? " Mr Rice answered, " They were 
formerly members of Murrell s gang of land pirates." Then said 
Mr. Pike, " My young friend, 1 know them also, but I keep my 
own counsel, and I would advise you to do the same, if you ever 
expect to visit this country again, for they are very numerous 
among us, and the slightest intimation of an expose of any of 
them would endanger your life. Many of them occupy promi 
nent positions in the mercantile, financial, and stock-raising busi 
ness, and are highly respected; are useful citizens and have ex 
cellent families." After this expression from Mr. Pike in trying 
to mitigate the deed of outlawry among the better representa 
tives of the " Murrell gang," Mr. Rice thanked him for his advice 
and assured him that he would govern himself accordingly. 

Mr. Rice soon after continued his journey up the Arkansas 
River as far as Fort Smith, taking in the alternate towns on 
either side and remaining one day at Fort Smith. He located 
his tent adjoining the United States District Court in the Indian 
Territory. Great crowds of people had assembled from all parts 
of the country to witness the execution of two Indians condemned 
for murder, and Mr. Rice also had the melancholy pleasure of 
seeing them make their exit to the happy hunting grounds. 
Immediately after the execution the band began playing, the 
doors were opened, and, in a short time, the canvas was filled 
with a large audience, consisting of about one thousand white 
people, one thousand Indians, and five hundred slaves, and the 
tickets sold for one dollar singly. 

Mr. Rice had the pleasure of meeting the distinguished Dr. 
Boniface of the United States Army, whose acquaintance he had 
formed at Pittsburg at the Allegheny Arsenal during his boy 
hood days, when he drove the carriage for Captain Harding. Mr. 
Rice exhibited at night to an audience composed mostly of the 
citizens, who turned out en masse, and the artists were the re 
cipients of unbounded applause, and the lady performers received 
many bouquets. It was the most appreciative audience Mr. Rice 
had met on the river since he left Little Rock. The next morn 
ing he left Fort Smith to begin the trip down the river, and, stop 
ping at Van Buren, gave two performances to a large concourse 
of people. He availed himself of the pleasure of visiting the 
landlord with whom he stopped the year previous, on the occasion 
when he was acting as his own agent in advertising the country. 
He found an opportunity of making an inquiry in regard to Gen 
eral Ross Indian agent, and was told that he had not been seen 



134: REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

or heard of since he left with the circus agent, having arranged 
to ride with him to Batesville. Mr. Rice then inquired of the 
landlord if he knew Tom May, and was told that he knew him 
well, but had not seen him for over a year, as he had left the 
country, having lost his wife, and had located several miles below 
Little Rock and had started a woodyard there. Having secured 
the required information, the landlord was then invited to come 
to the circus and see Dan Rice in his professional attire, and the 
gentleman was greatly surprised to recognize in the clown the 
circus agent who was his transient guest the year previous, and 
he was very much elated to know that the famous clown had been 
his guest. After the entertainment the landlord was serenaded 
by the circus band and was very lavish in his hospitality, as were 
all the people of that country in those early days. 

Mr. Rice left the next morning to take in the alternate towns 
on the downward trip, and arrived at Little Rock at the end of 
a week, remaining there two days, giving four performances. 
The entire gross receipts of the second afternoon performance 
were given to benefit the " Deaf and Dumb Asylum " at the 
suggestion of Albert Pike, who was a philanthropist where be 
nevolent institutions were concerned. The gift to the institution 
exceeded a thousand dollars and was gratefully recognized by the 
officials of the city, represented by Mr. Pike, who spoke in appro 
priate words of acknowledgment. 

Mr. Rice was delightfully entertained the following day, Sun 
day, by the prominent people of the city, and the pleasant asso 
ciations will always live in memory. The stay over in Little 
Rock also gave the performers a chance to attend religious wor 
ship, and, as several members of the troupe were church-going 
people, it proved a pleasant source of gratification to their prin 
ciples of devotion. At four o clock in the evening, the circus 
moved off down the river after firing a salute with the boat s 
cannon, amid the cheers of the throng assembled on the levee, 
while the band played its sweetest airs. Arriving just above the 
four-mile bar, the boat was tied up for the night as it was hazard 
ous to continue the journey in darkness, as the river was full of 
snags. 

Mr. Rice hailed the captain of a passing steamer and asked him 
if there was any wood at May s woodyard. He replied, " No. I 
took all there was on the bank; but there is plenty of it cut back 
in the timber. I would advise you, Captain Dan, to send May 
word to have it on the bank, so that you can get it early in the 
morning." Remembering the pressing invitation that he had re 
ceived on the upward trip to visit May again, when he descended, 
Mr. Rice ordered a yawl and attendants and concluded to attend 
to the matter in person, and prepared to arm himself accordingly. 




KICK S COAT OF AKMS 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 135 

His weapons of defence consisted of a gallon of liquor known as 
" nigger " whiskey, a quantity of tobacco, and some cigars. These 
articles were indispensable adjuncts to the consummation of a 
scheme that Mr. Eice had resolved to execute in regard to the 
outlaw who had swindled him out of six cords of wood that he 
never received, besides exposing this robber and murderer before 
his own slaves and the entire company. In half an hour Mr. Rice 
stood in Tom May s presence with his arms filled with ammuni 
tion, was greeted with a hearty welcome, and hospitably invited 
to take supper, that consisted of the inevitable " hog-meat " and 
" corn-dodgers " that had just been prepared. Having accepted 
May s invitation to remain during the night, Mr. Rice made 
known his errand that of procuring twenty cords of wood. The 
negroes were roused from their quarters and at once proceeded to 
cart the wood to the river bank while the proprietor made inroads 
upon the whiskey and tobacco, and Mr. Rice smoked his cigar. 
A peculiar rigid custom prevailed in those early days among the 
banditti, as well as among the best of the better classes, in 
requiring a guest to drink even though he should feel inclined to 
refuse. It was in this situation that Mr. Rice found himself; but 
being equal to any emergency, he pretended to indulge from his 
leaden cup, drinking a health each time to the worthy proprietor 
of the woodyard, and thus satisfied his host that he had partaken 
equally with him. In the meantime he regaled the outlaw with 
story and song, allowing the whiskey to furnish the finale, which 
came sooner than was expected, for May was so helplessly over 
come that his body-servant was obliged to put him to bed, after 
which service he retired to his quarters, and Mr. Rice was left 
alone with the branded outlaw, who soon began to indulge in 
what subsequently proved to be an habitual performance of the 
nasal organs, which Mr. Rice describes, in his inimitable way, as, 
" A whirlwind of cadences as furious as the attempts of an ama 
teur brass band." Mr. Rice, in order to perfect the projects of 
his scheme, proceeded to disarm his host by securing his pistols, 
rifle, and bowie-knife, the only weapons he could discover in the 
cabin, and concealed them, unobserved, under the bank of the 
river. On returning to the cabin he found his host still indulg 
ing in his involuntary and furious pastime, and taking a candle 
from the table, looked long and searchingly into Tom May s 
countenance as he lay in his unconsciousness. He read in the 
yielding features that he was not long for this world and would 
soon pass before a tribunal whose legal chains would bind him 
round about with bands like steel, from which he could not 
escape on account of his cruel deeds. The early dawn was now 
approaching and the steamboat blew her whistle for landing, so 
Mr. Rice left the cabin and repaired to the river bank where the 



130 BEMIXISCEtfCES OF DAK RICE 

slaves with their ox teams were hauling and cording the wood. 
The boat " rounded to" and., coming to the woodyard, the stag 
ing was run out, and the working brigade commenced rapidly 
" toting " the wood aboard. Tom May s body-servant came to 
Mr. Kice as he was watching the proceedings and asked him if 
he should wake up his master. Mr. Rice replied, " Yes, wake 
him up; put him in good shape and tell him I ve invited him to 
come down to the boat and take breakfast with me." In half an 
hour he made his appearance at the cabin door, and roughly ac 
cused his negroes with stealing his " shooting-irons/ which they 
all denied most emphatically, saying, " We all clar to God, Mars 
Tom, we hain t bin nigh dat yah cabin, fer sence yer called us 
we s bin totin wood all night." Finding they were all combined 
in declaring their innocence he made no more comments and al 
lowed his body-servant to take him on Mr. Rice s boat, and after 
indulging in a couple of " whiskey cocktails " to set him straight, 
he went with Mr. Rice to the boiler deck and smoked while wait 
ing for breakfast. The following conversation took place as they 
enjoyed the morning air, and May asked, " Captain Dan, how did 
you sleep last night?" "I didn t sleep at all, sir!" "Why, 
sah? " asked May. " Because you gave me such a musical enter 
tainment," said Mr. Rice, " that I laid awake to listen to it, sir." 
" What do you mean, sah? " " Why, you snored so loud that an 
elephant couldn t sleep in your presence," said Mr. Rice. " You 
tell me, sah, that I snore, sah?" asked May. " Yes, sir! " an 
swered Mr. Rice, being emboldened to speak out plainly, as May 
was unarmed, and, also knowing that most men are sensitive on 
that point, he was not safe in declaring himself. At this point 
of the proceedings, May arose, and straightening his huge frame 
of six feet to its full height, assumed a threatening attitude. Mr. 
Rice simultaneously arose also, expecting an attack from the 
outlaw, when May said, " Capt. Dan Rice, do you tell me that 
I snore, sah?" "Yes, sir," answered Mr. Rice emphatically. 
" Well, sah," said May, " understand distinctly, sah, that I am the 
boss snorer of Arkansas! " and he broke into a laugh as he spoke 
these words. The company that had by this time assembled in 
dulged heartily in its appreciation of the curious expression of the 
outlaw when they interpreted his joke and Mr. Rice also caught 
the infection, and Tom May s joke became proverbial. The bell 
now rang for breakfast, after which the mate of the boat came to 
Mr. Rice and informed him that the wood was all on board and 
the steam up ready for the start. Tom May was hurried to the 
office to get his money, and signed the receipt for forty dollars, 
his signature being almost unintelligible as he was still nervous 
from the debauch of the night before. As Mr. Rice handed him 
the money he said, " Tom, it s a poor rule that won t work both 



HEMIXISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 137 

ways. When I took wood from you on iny up trip, you bulldozed 
me out of twelve dollars for six cords of wood that I never re 
ceived." Pressing the money into Tom s hand, he continued, 
k There s your thirty-four dollars, all you re entitled to. Now, 
get ashore! " Calling the body-servant, he ordered him to take 
his master on shore. All the troupe were assembled on the 
guards and deck of the boat to hear the announcement that Mr. 
Rice had to make. As May stood at the end of the plank par 
tially bewildered by the turn of the tide of affairs, and trying to 
collect his scattered thoughts and recover his failing powers, al 
though he knew he was unarmed, Mr. Rice turned to the company 
and, calling their attention, said, " This is Tom May, an outlaw, 
once a member of the notorious Murrell gang of land pirates. I 
stayed at his home one night about a year ago and he hasn t recog 
nized me. I had accompanying me a gentleman who was Gen 
eral Ross Indian agent, and on his way to Nashville to procure 
supplies for the Cherokee reservation. He concluded to return 
to Van Buren, while I proceeded on to Batesville. He has never 
been seen or heard of since, but that man, Tom May, knows what 
became of him, and so do I! " The wretched man on the river 
bank grew ashen with fury as the accusing words fell upon his 
ear and he glared at Mr. Rice, who continued, " This agent had 
ten thousand dollars in gold and bank bills on the Canal Bank of 
New Orleans secured in a belt around his waist, and that man 
Tom May knew it. He murdered and robbed him! " May then 
grew desperate and shouted to his servant, " Go get my rifle! " 
and the rest of the slaves stood aghast, stupefied by this terrible 
declaration. The servant returned without the rifle, which Mr. 
Rice had previously hidden the night before, apprehending some 
difficulty with the desperado, and May s face grew dark with rage 
and his body quivered with pent-up execrations that never found 
voice in words. And Mr. Rice continued, " With part of that 
money he purchased this land of Gen. Albert Pike, of Little Rock. 
Now, Tom May, I advise you to make peace with your God, for 
your days are numbered, and if you do not die a natural death, 
and if I live to get to Batesville, you will die with a rope around 
your neck." The wretched being never uttered a word, but 
turned away and slowly made his way back to his cabin, his once 
erect form now bending with his load of gui-lt. The boat moved 
from the landing-place and proceeded on her journey while the 
last act of a cruel tragedy was being performed in the miserable 
home of the notorious Tom May. The end came quickly, for, 
strange to tell, when Captain Creighton of the regular steamer 
of the Memphis line overtook Mr. Rice at Pine Bluff the next 
day, he informed him that Tom May, at the woodyard, had died 
during the night while in delirium tremens. Thus justice doth 



138 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

work out her deeds in her peculiar way. Mr. Rice says he will 
ever regret leaving the remainder of that gallon of whiskey witli 
May, for it would have given him great satisfaction to have been 
instrumental in hanging the first man in Arkansas for murder. 



CHAPTER XVII: 

MEETING WITH JEFFERSON DAVIS A CIRCUS ~ CRCESUS 
SHADOWS OF COMING EVENTS CALM BEFORE THE STORM- 
DOUGLAS AND LEE AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW " SEE 
ING THE ELEPHANT" A LUDICROUS "ELUCIDATION" 
RING AND ROSTRUM PATRIOTISM AND PRICE SENATOR 
CAMERON S OMINOUS ORDER RICE ON THE TRACK- 
PRESIDENT LINCOLN S PRACTICAL JOKE. 

rTIHE season of 1854 proved to be the most successful one in 
JL Colonel Rice s professional career. It was an unbroken 
series of triumphs, almost without parallel in the circus world of 
those days, unmarred as it was throughout by accidents or mis 
adventures so inseparable from the rush and hustle, risks and 
trials of the transportation of circus troupes while on the road. 

The season closed with a net profit of over $100,000 a well- 
nigh unprecedented gain in those days. 

In the spring Colonel Rice bade farewell to New Orleans, dis 
posing of his interest in the famous amphitheatre and museum, 
and removed his entire circus outfit to Schenectady, N". Y., where 
he wintered with his family at the Gibbons Hotel. 

In the fall of that year he made a tour of the Southwestern 
States. Whilst exhibiting at Calhoun, Pittsboro County, Miss., 
Colonel Rice received his first introduction to Jefferson Davis. 
It was brought about at a banquet given in honor of the stalwart 
Secessionist. The Colonel delivered the address of welcome to 
the illustrious guest. Davis, at that time, was a popular idol. 
Mr. Rice describes him as a man of most marvellous personal 
magnetism, modest of bearing, reserved yet not secretive all in 
all, a man of most engaging personality and yet possessed of the 
most radical and positive traits. An obstinate extremist in his 
views of public men and measures, but most courteous, hospitable, 
and conservative in his social relations. " Davis," adds Uncle 
Dan, " was an immortal lover and an eternal hater." 

It was customary in those ante-bellum days for Northern and 
Southern friends at parting to exchange gifts swap souvenirs 
as it were. Colonel Rice presented the great agitator with a sil- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 139 

ver-mounted rabbit s foot, expressing the hope that the talismanic 
traditions associated with the souvenir would not fail of ful 
filment. In return he received a rare Mexican silver coin, 
which General Davis had picked up on the battlefield of Cha- 
pultapec. 

During the subsequent seasons from 1855 to 1859, and until the 
outbreak of the Civil War, Colonel Rice " swung around the 
circle/ as he puts it, from Dan to Beersheba, from himself, as it 
were, alternately to the remotest points of the circus compass; 
in truth from the wit eat lands of the frigid North to the Rice 
fields of the Sunny South. A sort of " Cereal Circle," adds 
Uncle Dan. He had now reached the topmost crescent of the 
wave of prosperity. 

Professional triumphs and honors crowded thick and fast upon 
him, bringing pecuniary profits to his coffers, with such fabulous 
rapidity, that the late Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania was con 
strained at a banquet given in his honor to characterize the 
Prince of Jesters as the Croesus of the Circus. The spring of 
1860 found the Mammoth Show at the National Capital. 

At Fairfax Court House was given the initial performance of a 
tour through Virginia and other Southern States, which was 
destined to be the last appearance of Colonel Rice in the Southern 
Circuit for many years. 

Coming events began to cast their shadows before. The cords 
of the national heart, harassed with maddening doubts and 
equally fatuous hopes, were even then straining at the leash of 
reason, swayed as they were by the passion of sectional prejudice 
and political bigotry. 

The terrible tension upon the popular patience and patriotic 
pride of all lovers of the Union, the intemperate and impulsive 
utterances of Southern sympathizers and Northern fanatics, had 
already begun to tell on every side. Washington society was a 
smouldering volcano. The suspense was oppressive, the ominous 
calm before the storm. Men in every station of life, political 
giants, financial kings, all men, Southern and Northern alike, 
felt the stifling dread of impending danger. 

Bosom friends looked askance, or greeted each other in a 
perfunctory way. Kinsmen felt the most sacred ties gradually 
loosen and unravel under the pitiable strain. 

Tn the light of after years, when the " storm had spent itself " 
and that " heavenly calm like a herald of hell " was dispelled 
little wonder that the reader may find food for gratifying thought 
in the following incidents which occurred in those feverish days 
at the National Capital. 

Colonel Rice, on his way to his apartments one early morning 
in the spring of 1860, met two men, one of whom subsequently 



140 KEMINISCENCES OE DAN BICE 

became a Northern candidate for the Presidency and the other 
Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Army Stephen A. 
Douglas and Eobert E. Lee. 

A friendship of many years standing existed between Douglas, 
Lee, and Eice. The former, after his " early bird " appearance 
had been explained, by the fact that he had passed a sleepless 
night, suddenly turned to Eice and said, " I left my home to 
shake off a feeling of utter loneliness that oppressed me, hoping 
to find in the bustle of the streets some relief, some rest, but I 
feel more isolated here somehow. A strange sense of mystery 
seems to envelop everything men, all things like the heav 
enly calm half heralding a veritable hell ; I wish it w r ere over 
with, the dread of the result, but what it may be is as nothing to 
the agony of the doubt." Pausing a moment Colonel Eice queried 
" Do you refer to the outcome, Mr. Douglas? " " No, no," thun 
dered Douglas, " not the end but the beginning, when and how 
will the first blow be struck ? " 

At that moment Col. Eobert E. Lee approached from an oppo 
site direction. The bearing of the gallant Lee was in marked 
contrast with the too apparent moodiness of the " little giant," 
marked as it was by that old-school heartiness of greeting and the 
inimitable charm of unaffected camaraderie with which he, after 
inquiring about Mr. Douglas 7 health, rallied him concerning his 
failure to be present at the circus, which Colonel Lee had at 
tended the previous night. 

The trio separated, Douglas continuing down Pennsylvania 
Avenue with his chin on his breast and his hands dug deep in 
his trousers pockets, Colonels Lee and Eice meanwhile proceed 
ing in an opposite direction. When the latter had informed 
Colonel Lee of what Mr. Douglas had said, he smilingly re 
marked that the beginning concerned him but little; the where 
and when the trouble would be precipitated affected his rest far 
less than when and how the termination would be reached; the 
length, the briefness of it, these were the perplexing doubts that 
haunted him. "But," he added, as he bade Colonel Eice good- 
by, " Uncle Dan, we are friends to-day despite the insecurity and 
uncertainty of matters political, let us hope to live Douglas, 
you, and I to renew again under one flag, when the storm has 
spent itself, the friendship that exists to-day." 

Shortly after leaving Washington with his company, Colonel 
Eice disposed of his interest in the Great Show without, however, 
severing his connection with it. 

It was about the time he issued a life-size pictorial sheet repre 
senting an elephant performing on a tight-rope, and another an 
tipodean extravaganza showing the same beast standing on his 
head. The publication of the " Elephantine " poster aroused the 



IIEM1XISCENCES OF DAN HICE 

curiosity of the public to concert pitch. The announcement 
was regarded as a huge circus joke, an incredible but pardon 
able instance of the license permitted the projectors of circus- 
posters. 

The following incident will serve to illustrate the skepticism of 
the amusement-loving people and the harsh awakening that re 
sulted. At Danbury, Conn., a State which despite its wooden 
nutmeg and hat-block industries, the late P. T. Barnum once said 
was productive of the most prolific growth of gullible guys in all 
New England, Colonel Rice and his elephantine wonder had en 
countered a veritable cyclone of criticism. Either the most 
fecund manager had fibbed about his native State for some in 
scrutable advertising purpose, or else the people must have seen 
a new light since the days when the Woolly Horse and What Is It? 
befogged their mental vision. There had inevitably been wrought 
a miraculous change. The pyrrhonist was everywhere when Eice 
and the rhinoceros put in an appearance. Doubting Thomases 
and deriding skeptics had sprung forth from the " gullible 
ground " from which P. T. Barnum had reaped so rich a harvest. 
Colonel Rice suffered as a result. The press pilloried the " fakes," 
public opinion took up the matter, and in consequence a commit 
tee of citizens waited on Colonel Rice and requested an oppor 
tunity to investigate the " animile." One night in the presence 
of a crowded house this wish was gratified. The spokesman of 
the committee, a veterinary surgeon and horse expert (?), of some 
suburban standing, remarked as he stepped into the ring, that 
he would proceed to " elucidate." Uncle Dan held the head of 
the beast in chancery with an iron chain connecting with a ring 
in the proboscis, while the chairman critically proceeded to ex 
amine the " mechanism " of the mastodon. He had reached the 
rear of the pachydermatous mammal, when the latter suddenly 
swung about, and, upsetting Colonel Rice, caught the " elucida- 
tor " on his horns, hurling him across the ring ropes into the row 
of seats. For a brief moment the audience became panic-stricken. 
Colonel Rice vaulted over the embankment and soon reached the 
far-from-doubting but thoroughly dishevelled elucidator, who 
rapidly recovered his equilibrium and returned with the Colonel 
to the ring, where, turning to his fellow committeemen, he 
shouted in piercing sibilants, " Darn yer, come and finish the job; 
if that yar i animile is all mechaniz then I ll be goll darned if 
he aren t got more life in him that a i Sandy Hill s hornet. : 

It is needless to add, however, that his fellow committeemen 
had ere this fully realized the enchantment of distance. 

Later, however, complications threatened to keep Uncle Dan 
himself some time on the horns of a dilemma, when it was bruited 
about that the said " elucidator " was going to invoke legal re- 



142 KEMLNlSCENCEb OE DAN KICE 

dress for the injuries to his dignitary. The affair, however, was 
amicably adjusted. 

A few years later, at St. Louis, Uncle Dan concluded one of the 
most unprecedented engagements ever made in that city, that is, 
considering the excited state of the popular mind and the hard 
times then prevailing. Wherever Colonel Rice went, from the 
St. Lawrence to the Delta of the Father of Waters, his patriotism 
kept pace with his popularity. From the hour when Louisiana 
seceded from the Union, when, standing in the centre of his 
great circus tent pitched on St. Charles Street, New Orleans, he 
unfolded the folds of the stars and stripes and appealed to his 
Southern brethren to stem the tide that might engulf and efface 
from among the nations of the earth that glorious emblem, with 
the thrilling traditions of heroic deeds that hallowed its past, on 
and up to the fatal hour, when, at Chicago, he became unmanned 
and wept in a pitiful way in the circus ring, when he was com 
pelled to announce the tragic end of the immortal Lincoln, the 
honest, fearless patriot and true American endeared himself alike 
to Southern and Northern friends by a fearless, almost reckless, 
devotion to the Union, and on more than one occasion their 
friendship stayed the hand of many a would-be assassin. And 
yet he never spoke slightingly of his friends south of Mason and 
Dixon s line, but lived on fostering in every way the hope that the 
peerless Lee gave voice to, bringing again the day when fraternal 
hands would grasp each other under the old flag under a newer 
and more enduring republic. Such were his heartfelt sympathies; 
such he believed to be the correct ideas of those who cherish the 
bravery and honor of our ancestors. Little occasion for wonder 
then that Colonel Rice turned the circus ring into a rostrum, 
where North and South he alternately discussed with an eloquent 
fervor the issues of the hour, pleading now with impassioned 
vehemence for the Union and again hurling scathing invectives 
at those who sought its destruction. A little incident which oc 
curred at Louisville, Ky., aptly illustrates in a characteristic way 
Uncle Dan s methods in the direction indicated. George D. 
Prentiss visited the national theatre and was the recipient of a 
marked compliment from the celebrated humorist, who after ad 
verting upon the calamities of the country and the disasters 
which had befallen the Union cause through political "prestidiga- 
tators," expressed his pride and satisfaction at the attendance of 
the great and patriotic editor. " That man," said Colonel Rice, 
pointing to a gentleman who occupied a conspicuous position in 
one of the boxes, " is George D. Prentiss, of Louisville." The 
effect was electrical, the audience rose en masse and gave three 
cheers for the great journalist, followed by as many more for Rice 
himself. 




THE "CALL IX TIME" COACH 




DAN KICK S CAKKIAGE 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 143 

September, 1SG1, found the Great Show homeward bound. 
For some time Colonel liice had been hard at work speaking for 
the Union with fearless energy throughout the South, leaving the 
circus combinations to run itself. The following analysis of the 
man., his motives and methods of advocating the Union cause 
may be quoted with singular appropriateness in this connection. 
It is from the pen of an unknown contributor to a Northern 
paper: 

" I attended a public meeting in Mason City, Va., a few days 
since, and among those who spoke was a gentleman by the name 
of Eice, whom the venerable Lincoln introduced as a citizen from 
Erie County Pa., in the Keystone State. Of course, as a Penn- 
sylvanian, I felt an interest in the man; so, therefore, I gave his 
remarks more than ordinary attention. He w r as eloquent, power 
ful, and easy in his address and manner, and won the admiration 
of all who surrounded his rostrum. His practical knowledge of 
the habits of men in different localities and the system he pur 
sued in pointing out the impossibility of the success of secession 
was no less significant for its originality than its truthfulness. He 
told what the manufacturing North could do, and how essential 
the activity, genius, and skill of her people were to the welfare 
of the great agricultural territory of the Sunny South/ He did 
not abuse or ridicule any people for their peculiarities or scoff at 
the manners or conventionalities of those who live in certain lo 
calities. He showed himself a Union man who had made the 
history of his country a study, whose object it was to preserve 
it whole and undivided, and cause it to go conquering and to 
conquer. 

" But who do you suppose this fine orator to have been? No 
less a personage than Dan Eice, the American humorist, whom I 
had seen and heard frequently in Quakeropolis. I heard that 
Dan was smart, but had no idea that his talents ran in a political 
channel. He is dignified on the platform, but, as in his profes 
sional circle, evidently seems to command. 

" He is not an enthusiast, neither does he appear like a man 
who is laboring for the gratification of personal ambition or pecu 
niary advantage. To speak plainly, he talks like a well-informed, 
educated gentleman, who knows what he is talking about, and 
who works for the love of the cause he has enlisted in. I do not 
know whether he has a desire for office, and I presume he has not, 
but it occurred to me that a man like him, who has travelled so 
far, has observed so much and was so familiar with the wants, 
habits, and manners of the people of all localities, could not speak 
in vain among the law-givers and sage councils of the nation. 
Perhaps the next place I may encounter this rising young man, 
Eice, will be in the State Senate, or in the Halls of Congress. 



144 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

More unlikely things have happened, and men of far less ability 
and character have been honored in that way. Depend upon it, 
that Rice will make his mark and turn his abilities to good ac 
count." 

In 1861, at Baton Rouge, Colonel Rice received a letter from 
the secretary of the Confederate Navy, at Montgomery, Ala., re 
questing information as to whether his steamboat, " James Ray 
mond/ could be purchased, and on what terms. Rice replied, 
in a diplomatic way, asking for time to consider the proposition. 
It was a time when temporizing was tantamount to treason. As 
no answer was received Uncle Dan " pulled up stakes " and 
sought safety in flight, being well aware that the next step would 
result in confiscation at any price. Subsequently, in 1862, whilst 
exhibiting in Washington at the National Theatre, a sensational 
but withal ludicrous sequel grew out of this incident. One eve 
ning whilst indulging in the barbarous pastime of being shaved 
at Willard s Hotel, Senator Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania, 
then Secretary of War, after greeting Colonel Rice in a somewhat 
brusque manner, informed him, in an austere and somewhat dic 
tatorial tone, that the President desired to see him immediately. 
Dan demurred, as his circus performance was about to commence. 
Cameron becoming apparently incensed at Rice s apparent indif 
ference, remarked as he walked away in a significant tone, " Well, 
a bayonet prod may prove more effective." Uncle Dan became 
suddenly distraught. Something was wrong there was trouble 
brewing; and so when, after the circus ended, he received an ad 
ditional summons to appear before the President, he lost little 
time presenting himself at the White House. The cabinet was in 
session. Rice was ushered in. The first to greet him was the 
President, who with an air of almost oppressive gravity inquired, 
if he, Colonel Rice, had while at New Orleans an interview with 
Secretary Thompson of the Confederacy; if he had not been in 
communication with members of the Confederate cabinet; if he 
had not offered to sell his steamboat to the Johnny Rebs; if he 
had not written a letter to that effect; if he had not received a 
reply bearing favorably upon that offer, etc., etc. The rapidity 
with which these questions were uttered, the grave bearing and 
intensely severe expression of the venerable President s face al 
most caused the Colonel to collapse. He looked hurriedly from 
one cabinet officer to the other, and felt he was up against a crisis. 
With fiery indignation he denied the charge, protested his patri 
otism, his loyalty, and was about launching out in an impassioned, 
and possibly immortal burst of eloquent defence, when Secretary 
Stanton stepped forward and. presenting a dog-eared letter for 
the Colonel s inspection, asked him if the signature attached to 
that communication was written by Colonel Rice. The Secretary 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 145 

would not permit the great showman to scan its contents. The 
Colonel,, now bewildered beyond relief, admitted its genuineness, 
but not before he brought his list down with tremendous force 
on the table fronting him and demanded to know " what in h 11 
it all meant ? " President Lincoln roared laughing, the spell was 
broken; the other members of the cabinet joined in the merri 
ment, and a few moments later Uncle Dan realized he had been 
the victim of a practical joke. The letter written by him to the 
Secretary of the Confederacy had been intercepted in transit by 
the Federal authorities and forwarded to Washington. It fur 
nished a clew to turn the laugh on the professional merrymaker, 
whose aggressive patriotism was as familiar as his fun-making 
fame. 

It was at this time while performing at the old Bowery Theatre, 
New York, under the management of Sam Stickney, that Mr. 
Spaulding sought him out and begged Uncle Dan to bridge over 
the estrangements of the past bury the hatchet so to speak, and 
renew their business associations. This, at first blush, was re 
volting to the feelings of the Colonel, who protested that, al 
though he never carried a grudge against living or dead, and 
therefore whilst willing to forgive the ruin which the revengeful 
acts of his old enemy, abetted by his partner Van Orden, had beset 
his career, still a business alliance was quite another matter, and 
one which he did not desire to undertake. Spaulding pleaded 
his personal regard for Rice, and sought Stickney s assistance to 
placate the Colonel. But Rice was relentless. For several days 
Spaulding labored in many ways to accomplish his purpose. He 
finally renewed his efforts, through a mutual friend, with the 
result that Uncle Dan yielded and a contract was executed, which 
in consideration of $5,000 gave Spaulding an undivided one-half 
interest in the profits of the show. This somewhat unnatural 
business union lasted three years, and was finally terminated in 
18G4, through the dishonesty of Mr. Spaulding s sons, who, in 
various capacities, were identified with the enterprise. Colonel 
Rice closed his season at Pittsburg, Pa., October 5, 1864, where 
his mammoth circus properties went into winter quarters. In 
the spring of 1862 the troupe travelled through Canada west, 
entering at Sarnia and trailed along the line of the Grand Trunk 
to Kingston, leaving the province for Oswego on board the 
steamer "American Lake." Shortly after the steamer had started 
for Oswego with Colonel Rice and his retinue a salute of seven 
guns was fired in honor of his departure. This was about three 
or four o clock Sunday morning. The " good-by-boom," accord 
ing to Uncle Dan, came from Fort Frederick. He had formed 
the acquaintance of many of the garrison stationed there, hence 
this flattering display of their good will. 
10 



146 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 



CHAPTEK XVII. 

IN January, 1861, the principal cities on the Ohio and Missis 
sippi were visited by the Great Show. At New Orleans 
Colonel Rice joined his company. His reappearance in the Cres 
cent City was the occasion for many remarkable demonstrations 
of popular favor. The war fever was rapidly spreading. To 
uphold " Old Glory " on the one hand; to preach the gospel of 
the Union, and on the other hand to hold his grasp upon the 
popular heart, of which he was a veritable idol, was a stupendous 
task, drawing to the utmost upon the resourcefulness of the man. 
But Dan s diplomacy and native tact won the day. Whilst ex 
hibiting at New Orleans, the following eloquent tribute, paid 
Uncle Dan by " Chips," the brilliant correspondent of the New 
York " Spirit of the Times," very effectively emphasizes the es 
teem in which the genial jester was held: 

MY DEAR COLONEL PORTER: Did you ever meet Dan Rice? 
I presume you have, as it has been your luck to enjoy the pleas 
urable associations of nearly all worthy dignitaries. But for fear 
you have not, let me, for my own personal gratification and the 
edification of some of your many thousand readers, give you my 
opinion of the man. Now as a general thing I am not a very 
ardent admirer of the circus, and as for clowns, why I abominate 
them. Joe Millerisms are good enough in their way, but when a 
fellow in a motley garb with a spotted countenance and white 
washed cheek, attempts to pass them off on me as original witti 
cisms, I feel disposed to treat the aforesaid mountebank in a re 
markably hostile manner. A good ring jester I had not seen 
since William F. Wallett was here some few years ago, so, actuated 
by curiosity, I was persuaded to forsake the legitimate drama, 
forswear the opera, repudiate the burnt-cork melodies, and neg 
lect the charming Maggie Mitchell, who was at that moment 
aforesaid playing the ancient and venerable gentleman in black 
with susceptible young men who have a proclivity for handsome 
young girls with neat gaiters on pretty feet, short dresses, capital 
bonnets, curly hair, and saucy eyes, all of which teasing adjuncts 
Miss Maggie has got at command. 

Well, to turn from the sublime to the ridiculous, I went into 
the Academy, when, judge of my surprise to find, instead of an 
ugly clown who unscrupulously murdered the King s English and 
made grimaces with impunity, a well-built, commanding gen 
tleman, dressed in a court suit, and who walked with grace, 
manly bearing, and dignity, with a youthful face, a fine forehead, 
an expressive eye, and a fascinating mobility of countenance. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX HICE 

Dan Rice stood before me. He began to talk. He alluded to 
the state of public affairs; he interspersed his remarks with 
quaint, funny, and, withal, modest incidents. 1 was agreeably 
disappointed, and 1 wondered how a man so eminently endowed 
by nature, with a well-balanced mind, a quick intellect, and a 
liberal education, could possibly have devoted so many years to 
that pursuit, which, though honorable enough in its way, can 
never rank with professions that now command the respect and 
admiration of the world. 

Rice is, however, a genius, and one who will be regarded as a 
bright light, and through his example and efforts the " Show 
men " are somewhat higher in the social scale than formerly. 

What a romance of reality would Rice s career make! Person 
ally, I don t know him, but the impression he made upon me was 
most favorable. I have been told that he has been made the vic 
tim of many misrepresentations and is the child of misfortune, 
but that his indomitable will, firmness of mind, and powers of 
forbearance have enabled him to live down all obstacles. So 
might it be. Perhaps, dear Colonel, when I know more of Rice, I 
may have something more to say about him. 

" CHIPS." 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

IN THE CRESCENT CITY PATRIOTISM AND POPULARITY THE 
GREAT CLOWN S CANDIDACY A CRITIC S CONCLUSION 
IN THE MANAGERIAL HARNESS ONCE AGAIN A MAM 
MOTH UNDERTAKING SHOWMAN AND POLITICIAN UNCLE 
DAN BREAKS DOWN THE FUN-FACTORY AFTER FORTY 
YEARS SHUTS DOWN A FAREWELL TOUR AND FINAL BOW 
PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL TRIUMPHS. 

IX 1864 he was nominated for the State Senate of Pennsylvania 
by the soldiers. He was in the Far West at that time and had 
but two weeks to give his answer, which was to the effect that if 
they ran him they must do it upon their responsibility as he had 
no time to devote to the labors of a political campaign. He ran 
eighteen hundred votes ahead of the ticket, and was thankful for 
the narrow escape he made from being elected, for he could not, 
under existing circumstances, serve a term as State Senator. His 
letter of acceptance had but one week s time for circulation 
among the people of the district. 

Later, in 1800. ho WPS nominated by the soldiers of the 19th 
Congressional District, Pennsylvania. Colonel Rice declined the 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 

honor., withdrawing in favor of Glenni W. Schofield, who was 
elected. 

In April, 1865, Colonel Eice was engaged by Forepaugh & 
O Brien, opening at the Walnut Street Amphitheatre, Philadel 
phia. Subsequently, whilst with his greatest show at Chicago, 
Colonel Eice received the news of the assassination of President 
Lincoln. He at once cancelled all future engagements and re 
turned to his home in Girard, Pa. Later he purchased the Mabey 
Bros/ circus outfit. He also secured the first herd of sacred 
cattle ever brought to this country, at a cost of $5,000^, and ex 
hibited the beautiful beasts throughout the Lake cities. They 
were purchased from the Hofnagel estate at Xew Hope, Pa. In. 
1866 he renewed his copartnership with Forepaugh, making a 
tour of the Middle States. A year later he appeared again under 
the management of Cooper, Gardner & Hemming, receiving 
$1,000 a week for his services. The years of 1866 and 1867 found 
Colonel Eice in the managerial harness once again. He launched 
another mammoth enterprise, a circus and menagerie, organized 
on a scale hitherto unrivalled in variety and novelty of attraction 
and lavish expenditure of time and money. It was the largest, 
most complete, and successful venture ever undertaken by Colo 
nel Eice. The menagerie embraced, among many other remark 
able attractions, some of the rarest quadruped novelties known 
to the amusement-loving people of two continents, and without 
a shadow of doubt, the most costly stud of educated horses ever 
seen the world over, was represented in this marvellous aggrega 
tion. Excelsior, the most wonderfully trained horse on earth, 
whose equal has never been seen before or since, was the star 
attraction. The act performed by this blind horse, borne as he 
was on a platform carried on the shoulders of twelve stalwart at 
tendants, who paraded the living statuesque equine around the 
ring, the horse resting on three legs, while one of his forefeet was 
adjusted with graceful effect on a pedestal, presented one of the 
most exquisitely picturesque tableaux ever conceived by a horse 
trainer or limned by a Bosa Bonheur. The arenic attractions 
presented to the public an array of talent never gathered together 
theretofore under one canvased roof and in a single ring. This 
unique and complete exhibition of circus and menagerie made a 
tour of the Atlantic seaboard States, giving a final exhibition on 
the cotton factory lot, Second Street above North, in the City of 
Harrisburg, Pa. His presence there was the occasion of the fol 
lowing tribute to him as a showman, as a patriot, and something 
of a politician: 

" Mr. Bice as a showman has a reputation in his line of business 
which is unequalled, and is known to almost every man, woman, 
and child in the country. In his private walks of life he has be- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

come equally famous for his liberality and undaunted persever 
ance. In giving one or two instances to illustrate this, we hope 
he will pardon us for thus bringing his private with his public 
reputation in print. We have given, from time to time, the 
movements in different counties of our State for the purpose of 
erecting monuments to their brave sons who fell in the Eebellion, 
but as yet, in no instance, excepting one, have we learned of the 
consummation of this praiseworthy purpose, and in this we are 
indebted to the liberality of the man that almost every negro and 
bootblack on the street familiarly styles Dan Rice, the Clown. 
Mr. Eice, though by no means a * million heir/ partaking of the 
patriotic spirit, went to work at once, obtained the consent of the 
authorities of the town he resides in, Girard, Erie County, and 
erected, at his own expense, a magnificent monument to the 
soldiers who fell in battle from that county, costing him thou 
sands of dollars. Xor is this the only instance of his liberality, 
his frequent contributions to the sick and wounded soldiers, are 
acts deserving the highest praise. 

Mr. Eice has also taken considerable part in political matters, 
and was about this time nominated for State Senator by his 
friends in a district largely against the party of which he was the 
nominee, but was so popular that his opponent barely escaped 
defeat by a very small vote. Dan was off travelling with his 
show, but had he remained at home and taken the stump in the 
canvas, he would have been elected. He had recently travelled 
much through the South, and since his return, at the request of 
Secretary Seward, has given the government much valuable in 
formation relative to those States." Ilarrisburg Patriot and 
Union. 

After thirty weeks of the most brilliant campaign he had ever 
experienced Colonel Eice, mentally jaded and physically ex 
hausted, returned to his palatial home in Girard, Pa. He was 
shattered in health and his physician urged a much needed rest. 
But not for long. The merrymaker s mercurial nature would not 
be denied. Eest w r as one thing restraint quite another. Of 
physicians, Uncle Dan had a healthy abhorrence, presumably 
because he had been something of a " Medicine Man " himself. 
His confinement chafed. It w r as a sort of strait-jacket to his 
animal spirits. The fun-factory, which had been running, and 
working overtime at that, for forty consecutive years, was rusting 
with inaction. To plan was but to put into practical operation, 
or as Uncle Dan says, " With me it was at that time a case of 
kicking and conquering. I won out, got on my feet and put into 
execution a determination to make a farewell tour of the principal 
cities of the Xorth and West. T had amassed, it is true, several 
fortunes. I have given all but the one I now had away. I was 



150 HEMLNISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

tempted to enjoy it. I decided to withdraw from the amusement 
world. This would be my final bow." That tour was an extraor 
dinary series of professional successes and personal triumphs, 
born only of the esteem and admiration in which he was held and 
which were rarely if ever before accorded to an entertainer in his 
peculiar sphere. 

The following eloquent tributes of the press at this time gave 
an added interest to his Western tour, which seemed destined to 
mark the close of his circus career among a people whose regard 
for him as a man was scarcely paralleled by their admiration for 
him in a professional role. 

From the " Milwaukee Sentinel : " 

The attendance at Dan Eice s Great Show yesterday was in 
deed complimentary considering the intense heat, and both enter 
tainments fully justified our remarks of yesterday. Both per 
formers and animals seemed inspired by the rest obtained during 
their sojourn in our beautiful city, and one and all played their 
parts excellently well. As for the great centre of attraction, Col. 
Dan Rice, he even outdid himself. Although physically greatly 
depressed and hoarse to a painful degree, he summoned both 
muscular and mental powers to do justice to the occasion of his 
farewell to his warm Milwaukee friends, and never on the saw 
dust was witnessed and enjoyed as bright and too brief an hour of 
eloquence, pathos, wit, and humor. 

In doffing his helmet of felt to say good-by forever, Dan was 
particularly happy and touching in his remarks. After warmly 
thanking his friends in this vicinity for the patronage and per 
sonal encouragement which had invariably greeted hinL, he mod 
estly and beautifully alluded to the disposition of the immense 
sums of money he had made in his arduous and often misunder 
stood profession. He stated that during a career of nearly thirty 
years he had given various charitable objects the munificent sum 
of nearly a million and a half dollars. He did not speak of it 
boastfully, but seemed really impressed with a true sense of the 
blessing Providence had bestowed upon him in permitting him 
the privilege of so generously giving. 

Dan Rice is truly a remarkable man remarkable for the abil 
ity, energy, and success which has marked his career; remarkable 
for philanthropy not to have been looked for in one who had much 
of discouragement and disadvantage to contend with, and still 
more remarkable for an earnest desire to elevate and benefit 
where selfishness and hard-heartedness were to be looked for. 

In bidding him farewell, we really regret to part with one who 
has afforded us so much pleasure, and perhaps taught us lessons 
of charity in estimating deeds rather than professions." 




UICE IX KIJS G COSTUMK 



KEM1X1SCENCES OF DAN KICE 151 

The " Pittsburg Republic " says of the farewell tour: The 
rush to see the equestrian idol of the masses and to hear his words 
of farewell was perfectly tremendous. A living avalanche 
threatened to bury the ticket wagon and poured into the tent 
until every available foot was occupied,, and the closing of the 
doors upon grievously disappointed hundreds of applicants for 
admission was rendered imperative. But the merry genius of the 
ring, made a charmed one by the wit and humor of him whose 
shoulders the mantle of Momus has dropped, waved his baton of 
felt over the vast throng, and good humor, sometimes perhaps 
just a little boisterous, was the rule without exception. No 
other living man but Dan Eice could have so successfully con 
trolled such a crowd, whose anxiety to see and hear everything 
would have defeated itself but for that firm and yet not un 
gracious management born of the ability to command. Mr. Eice s 
appearance in the ring was greeted with cheers and continued 
applause. It was apparent that the severe labors of the thirty 
weeks amusement campaign he was about so brilliantly to con 
clude had severely taxed even his iron constitution, but rallying 
with wonted determination and energy, his wit, genius, brilliant 
and philosophic humor and quaint originality were never more 
effectively displayed. He, of course, carried his auditors with 
him, and left a permanent impression no one, in his lifetime, at 
least, will equal or decrease. In the early part of the evening s 
entertainment, the printers of Pittsburg presented Mr. Eice with 
a magnificent copy of Shakespeare s works, as a sincere tribute of 
respect and esteem from the disciples of the " art preservative of 
arts/ 

HIS FAKEWELL ADDRESS. 

The " Commercial " says: Before retiring to doff the motley 
for the last time in Pittsburg, Mr. Eice stepped into the circle 
which had been the scene to him of so many triumphs and spoke 
as follows: 

It was in this city that I spent many of my boyish days. Prob 
ably I may have been regarded as being full of wild opinions and 
some wayward pranks, as all boys are, and perhaps a little dis 
posed to resent an insult when it was offered, and I confess I have 
not entirely recovered from such a spirit yet. (Cheers.) But 
if this has been the case, I have endeavored from that time to this 
during twenty-six years, to be in all things just purely just. 
(Applause.) I have been in this profession since 1841, that is, in 
the show business. I have striven hard during that time, and 
have labored day and night to interest and amuse the people. I 
regard the profession I have followed as an honorable and legiti 
mate calling. Like all departments of trade, there will be found 



152 EEMIXISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

good and bad people engaged in it. I have endeavored at all 
times, and under all circumstances to elevate it, and I think I do 
not exaggerate when 1 tell you I have so far succeeded as to be 
patronized by the most learned, eloquent, and distinguished gen 
tlemen in the land. (Applause.) 1 well remember Judge \Vil- 
kins, Harmon, Denny, and Major Harding. There are others 
yet living. I am glad to mention General Robinson, to whom I 
am deeply indebted for much of the success I have won, animated 
as I was by the counsel of these distinguished gentlemen. It 
built up in my mind such an ambition that at least I can proudly 
say, in truth and candor, placing my hand on my heart, that no 
man can say aught against my character. (Loud applause.) I 
look back with feelings of gratitude as I think of the time when 
the citizens of Pittsburg came to my assistance in the dark hours 
of misfortune, letting the rays of sunshine down into my heart. 
It may not be uninteresting to you for me to say that in all cases 
you have come to my assistance and encouraged and patronized 
me; for this sympathy so generously bestowed you will ever be 
entitled to my sincere gratitude. Although once a poor boy, a 
stable-boy if you like, a livery stable boy (applause), I have come 
back to be taken by the hand by all classes of society. Ladies 
and gentlemen give their smiling approval and words of kindness, 
and how could I feel otherwise than grateful? Xo, my heart is 
filled with gratitude towards you. It may please you to know 
how I have conducted myself financially since I started out in the 
business, and I consider the time has come for me to tell you. I 
have made more money than any six of the richest circus men in 
the world, and not by trickery or fraud, or gew T -gaws or six-penn} r 
plaj^s, but what I have accumulated has been accumulated hon 
estly by laboring in a circle forty-two feet in diameter, the ring. 
(Applause.) The question may arise what have I done with my 
money? In order that my many friends may know what I have 
done with it, I will say that since 1841 I have devoted to chari 
table and patriotic societies, and have given away to assist in 
succoring the poor, wounded, sick, and oppressed, over a million 
and a half dollars, and I have the documents to prove it. (Loud 
cheers.) So you see how much good can be accomplished by 
laboring to benefit mankind. I have always endeavored to put 
this fortune which has been given me to proper use, and have 
ever been ready to listen to the voice of sorrow and distress; con 
stantly eager to do good with it, that I might say that I am grate 
ful for these gifts. I might have done more, I might have done 
better, but I have been as judicious in carrying out my plans as 
my humble abilitv would admit. How rejoiced I am to think 
that God has enabled me to do what I have, and yet left me an 
abundance of this world s cheer for my wife and children. (Ap- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 153 

plause.) And now I would say to you, young men, in starting out 
in life, be mindful that you can do good; never close your hearts 
to the appeal of hunger, sorrow, or distress, but try constantly to 
relieve the wants of suffering humanity. Be an ornament to so 
ciety, mindful of your dependence upon the Giver of all good, and 
when you do this, you can look forward with hope to the time 
when you can expect to receive a crown of glory. That God may 
bless you and prosper you all is the heartfelt wish of your humble 
servant, Dan Eice. 



COL. DAX EICE S FAREWELL TO MILWAUKEE. 

(From the Milwaukee News.) 

DAN RICE S LAST VISIT: Dan, the original, the remarkable, 
the innovator, the home jester, and the happy humorist has come, 
and we pen it with sincere regret gone forever. He made his 
brief visit among us as brilliant and pleasing as we had a right to 
expect from his ability and popularity. Of the character of the 
performances, we have alread} spoken. Those of yesterday were 
equal in merit to their predecessors and received the same hearty 
commendation from the public. 

The exhibition of last evening was rendered more than ordinar 
ily remarkable by the famous address of Colonel Rice, an address 
which, for earnest eloquence, pathos, and power, deserves a better 
chronicling than the reporting facilities of a circus tent admitted 
of. After gracefully thanking his Milwaukee friends for their 
continued countenance, he pertinently and beautifully reverted 
to his own eventful career and defended his profession from the 
mistaken aspersions ignorantly or maliciously cast upon it. 
Xaturally and properly the occasion called forth reference to the 
disposition of the large fortunes acquired during his thirty years 
of arenic experience. We, as humble chroniclers of events, have 
been especially interested in the career of the famous clown and 
jester, Dan Rice, for a number of years, and know of his many 
large charities which are creditable both to his heart and head. 

We bid Dan Rice adieu with regret, not only as one who has 
from our earliest years afforded us many hours of recreation, but 
as a pattern of unostentatious and wide liberality who has fur 
nished an example well worthy of imitation and respect. 



154: REMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 



CHAPTER XIX. 

A SERIES OF SENSATIONAL, SPECTACULAR, AND GIGANTIC 
ENTERPRISES COL. RICE ? S GREATEST VENTURE UNPAR 
ALLELED SUCCESSES A PINNACLE OF PECUNIARY PROFITS 
THE WORLD-FAMOUS PARIS PAVILION AN ALADDIN S 
FLYING PALACE AN ALEXANDER OF THE ARENA A PRE 
MONITION THE TELLTALE CREVICE A DREADFUL DIS 
ASTER. 

IN the year 1868 Colonel Eice identified himself with the Fore- 
paugh Circus, receiving $1,000 a week and expenses. The 
following season he purchased, at a cost of $10,000, the steamboat 
" Will S. Hays," so named after the popular Western poet. He 
toured the principal cities from St. Paul to New Orleans, giving 
the closing exhibition at St. Louis. About this time Avery 
Smith, John A. Nathans, and Girard Quick formed a copartner 
ship which subsequently was known in the circus world as the 
" Fiat-Foot Party." How they came to be branded with this 
lugubrious title Uncle Dan knoweth not, except, as he facetiously 
suggests, because they were always walking " on their uppers." 
Under their management was a troupe of Italian performers, 
which Dan Rice, when he reached Memphis in the spring of 1870 
consolidated with his great show. This mammoth institution 
up to that date represented beyond doubt the greatest arenic tal 
ent that two continents could produce. It was the most sensa 
tional, spectacular, and gigantic arenic entertainment ever wit 
nessed in the United States. Never before had such a combina 
tion of circus performers been massed under one canopy. Every 
artist was an unchallenged world champion in his class. Beauty, 
merit, and muscle were combined to an unprecedented and ex 
traordinary degree; all in all it proved to be the most elaborate, 
elegant, novel, and varied entertainment which Dan Rice, as 
manager and proprietor, ever presented to the public. This vast 
circus combine made an extended tour of the Mississippi and its 
tributary streams, visiting the principal cities and towns of the 
South and Southwest. Some idea of its magnitude may be de 
rived from the fact that it employed two steamers, the " Will S. 
Hays " and " Dan Rice, Jr.," the former to transport the small 
army of performers, the magnificent stud of horses, and the gen 
eral paraphernalia of a great show, and the latter to carry the 
advertising contingents and the tons of illuminated and gorgeous 
circus posters, to herald the coming of the largest show on earth 
or water. From the organization to the disbandment of these 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 155 

two unrivalled companies of artists, the veteran showman ex 
perienced the most gratifying triumphs of his professional life, 
not alone in the popular applause and laudatory tributes of the 
press, but in the monetary gains, which reached the very pinnacle 
of pecuniary profits, in the enormous net return of over $125,000. 
The succeeding season of 1870 found Colonel Eice again " ex 
ploring and exploiting," as he puts it, on the constant, tireless, 
irrepressible scent after some new and still more startling devel 
opments with which to tickle the public palate. His instincts 
for novel innovations were as marvellous as the rapidity with 
which he caused his plans to materialize and take practical and 
profitable form. He spurned the adapter s artifices he was 
original or nothing. Woolly horses, Mermaids, and What Is It s? 
were not the mediums with which his creative brain sought to 
help himself and humbug the public. As the successful news 
paper man must possess a natural nose for news to enable him to 
rise above his fellows, and attract public recognition of his merits, 
so Uncle Dan possessed a well-developed nose for novelties, " and 
you may add a pretty prominent proboscis on physical lines at 
that," I hear Uncle Dan laughingly hint over my shoulder as I 
write. His ambition soon found its proper vent. Little wonder 
then that he decided to purchase the world-famous Paris Pavilion 
or Amphitheatre Portatif, which was effected in the spring of 
1871. This undertaking outranked, strange to say, every pre 
vious venture of his sensational career. It seemed like the cap 
ping of a climax; surely he could go no higher; probably the 
altitude was too great a risk; well it appeared to be an alternative 
of the topmost rung or the bottom of the pit with Colonel Eice. 
Whatever the result, Colonel Eice embarked in the enterprise 
with his usual fund of indomitable pluck and doggedness of pur 
pose, and opened to the public this magnificent palace of amuse 
ment at St. Louis, Mo. 

The purchase by Colonel Eice of this magnificent portable 
amphitheatre, known as the " Paris Circus Pavilion," together 
with the immense quantity of costly wardrobe, trappings, Gobelin 
carpets, curtains, and general superb paraphernalia of the most 
expensive material specially manufactured in Paris, therefore, 
with a view of giving arenic exhibitions therein in the larger 
cities of America, inaugurated a new and brilliant era in the 
world of popular amusements, and was a daring innovation upon 
the established and manifold discomforts and dangers heretofore 
regarded as inseparable from and indispensable to circus perform 
ances, which Mr. Eice was assured the people would duly appre 
ciate and liberally reward. As this elegant realization of 
Aladdin s Flying Palace was the only edifice of the kind in exist 
ence,, or ever constructed, and had never been thrown open to the 



150 REMIXISCEXCES OF DAX RICE 

public until that time,, a brief chronicle of its origin, and a suc 
cinct description of its novel, ingenious, and perfect plan is neces 
sary and will be found of interest. 

During the summer of 1866 five of the wealthiest and most 
enterprising showmen of the United States conceived the idea of 
establishing a circus composed of champion performers of the 
New World, in Paris, during the great World s Fair, or Exposition 
Universelle, of 1867. In furtherance of this project, and that 
nothing might be wanting to successfully minister to the fastid 
ious taste and favorably impress the hypercritical populace of the 
earth s gay capital, the services of the most celebrated architects 
and mechanics of the day were employed, whose practical skill 
and experience was for months devoted to, and an enormous sum 
expended in, designing and minutely perfecting the Paris Circus 
Pavilion, or " Amphitheatre Portatif d Ete." This anomalous 
yet complete, beautiful, and imposing structure was shipped to 
France in a steamer specially chartered to transport the precious 
freight; but owing to errors in advance management and the 
vehement opposition engendered by its preceding fame in the 
jealous, alarmed minds of managers to the manor born, was never 
erected on, the then, Imperial soil. Its disappointed and un 
justly treated owners reshipped it to this country and carefully 
stowed it aw r ay in New Orleans, w r here it had remained until 1871 
in undeserved obscurity, with the exception of being partially put 
up on one or two occasions for display, in hope of securing a pur 
chaser. The unfortunate experience of its proprietors seemed 
to have somewhat demoralized them, and though exceptionally 
confident when travelling the old, well-worn show route, their 
nerve failed them in confronting the expense, risk, and labor 
attendant upon the cis- Atlantic employment of their admirable 
conception, and it remained a magnificent elephant upon their 
hands, until rescued, the ensuing winter, from threatened obliv 
ion by Colonel Rice, who, recognizing at once its superior excel 
lence, reposing full as much faith in American as in foreign ap 
preciation, and reasonably reliant upon a thirty years day and 
night experience and acquaintance with the needs and wishes of 
the amusement-loving public, became at once its proprietor and 
the revolutionizer of the very circus system of which he had been, 
for over a quarter of a century, the recognized leader. 

The giant stride in the path of amusement progression, the 
deference to the eas and security of the public, the radical 
erasure of conventional ring-marks the substitution of luxurious 
comfort for torturing posture and obstructed vision, the trans 
formation of bellying and unstable canvas into firm-founded 
and perfectly appointed amphitheatre all this has not been con 
summated without an outlay and possible intervention of con- 



KEMIXISCENCES OF DAN BICE 157 

tingencies that no one, save Dan Kice alone among the many able 
and wealthy members of his profession had the spirit and confi 
dence in the people to assume. Of the size and completeness of 
the pavilion, and the labor, expense, and responsibility involved 
in its transportation and erection, a partial idea may be formed 
from a consideration of the fact that, closely packed, it filled one 
of the largest-sized freight cars, and an extra force of experienced 
men, under a master of construction, was required to put it up 
and handle it. 

The interior view and diagram presented on a preceding page 
represent with scrupulous accuracy its appearance, arrangement, 
and capacity, and will aid the reader in locating the following 
description, which is merely in the nature of a brief and su 
perficial sketch of its general appointments and prominent me 
chanical peculiarities, as no mere word painting can convey any 
adequate conception of the magnificent coup d ceil presented 
by the vast circular auditorium, when deftly combined, in grace 
ful strength and harmonious design, the gorgeous hangings and 
decorations bathed in a dazzling flood of gaslight. In order to 
secure perfect symmetry, unyielding strength, and entire equality 
of observation the sides of the pavilion were subdivided into 
twenty-two sections, formed into a circle and supporting each 
other at their termini upon the principle and ancient design of 
the Great Solomon the keystone of the arch. This gave the build 
ing a diameter of 120 feet, making, of course, a total circumfer 
ence of 360 feet. Each of these sections was 1G feet in height 
and composed of handsomely finished and substantial wooden 
strips closely joined at the sides and dovetailed at the ends, assur 
ing mutual strength and support. 

Let us, in the conveniently supposable absence of the gentle 
manly doorkeeper, pass free through the broad-arched central 
entrance and avail ourselves of the opportunity to make our 
" First appearance in the ring," and from the centre of that 
ground dedicated to Hercules, Apollo, Mercury, and the Centaurs 
take in the novel and attractive situation at a sweeping glance. 
Your preconceived impressions of circus interiors, established 
from dim childhood recollection, of a sort of tent, a screened and 
inhabited lumber yard, where some nomadic lunatic has been ap 
parently engaged in a hasty and futile effort to square the circle 
with a lot of treacherous and shifting planks, each one harder to 
sit on than a stool of repentance, and nowhere a rest for the 
weary dangling leg, will turn a double somersault and bring you 
to the sudden conviction that after all there is something de 
cidedly new under the circus sun. 

From the edge of the ring extends to the furthest verge of 
the grand outer circle a matched floor with a sufficient ascending 



158 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

tendency to secure an uninterrupted view of the performance 
from every part of the building, which in this desideratum it may 
be here remarked is democratically perfect as far as seeing is con 
cerned, there being absolutely no preference in seats, all of which 
were so arranged as to render it impossible for any one to obstruct 
the view of others. 

The division of seats as to classification begins at the ring; 
those nearest there representing the parquette, in fact as well as 
name, and being first on the price list. These premieres, as 
they are designated in the diagram, contained five hundred and 
forty luxurious, portable, cane-bottomed sofa seats in sections 
of twenty-seven (27) each. They commanded the nearest view 
of the performance and performers, and were therefore consid 
ered the most desirable. 

Directly back of these parquette seats, and elevated consider 
ably above them, is a circle of forty-four (44) elegant private 
boxes, designated in the diagram as u loges," divided by railings 
handsomely finished in black walnut and each supplied with six 
easy chairs. Many preferred these to seats in the parquette and 
they were specially adapted for the cosy enjoyment of family 
parties. Behind the loges was a lobby of three feet in width 
running the entire circle of the building, for the use of visitors 
and occupants of the loges. These did not at all interfere with 
the occupants of the family circle who were behind. This family 
circle, or secondes, which was raised gradually to the outer wall, 
and in turn raised several feet above the boxes, contained over 
1,000 chairs. This was a very commodious station and afforded 
an excellent view of the whole house. Behind the secondes was 
another lobby of four feet wide, touching the wall and running 
around the entire circumference, which was also reserved for 
promenaders. 

Immediately opposite one another were two very noticeable 
elevations. One, that of the main entrance, was originally in 
tended as the Grand Imperial Box for the special honor and 
glory of his late Majesty, Napoleon III. Colonel Rice, in grateful 
appreciation of invaluable favors and kindness, rededicated it, 
this time to the Republican Majesty of the Free Press of the 
land, to whose representatives its exclusive use was cordially and 
respectfully tendered. Here all necessary writing materials, etc., 
were provided for editorial use. The elevation opposite above the 
mysterious dressing-room curtain was reserved to the splendid 
orchestra of th? circus, under the leadership of the distinguished 
young Prof. Edgar Mentor. 

The building was brilliantly lighted with gas, there being in 
addition to the powerful star centre-pole chandeliers, candela 
bra, with globes, upon each post around the circle of boxes, and a 





MONT.MEXT ERECTED TO THE SOLDIERS OF PENNSYLVANIA AT GIRARD I> 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN IUCE 159 

row of the same around the family circle, besides the burners in 
the editorial box and orchestra. 

Special attention had been paid to the important matter of 
ventilation, which was secured by an opening of some four feet 
in width, extending all the way round the top of the sides, and 
provided with a canvas screen of elegant design, which could be 
raised or lowered, according to the thermometrical and baromet 
rical dictation. 

Finally, this splendid establishment, which could on occasion 
comfortably seat over 3,000 people, was canopied with a canvas 
top the peak of which soared fully sixty feet above the earth. 
It was manufactured of a newly discovered material, transparent 
to the sight, but almost as impervious to water as an otter s back. 

All in all this unique structure was the most elegant edifice of 
its kind ever dedicated to the God of laughter by so worthy a son 

of Momus as the subject of these memoirs. 

* * * . * * * * * * 

The following years, from 1872 to 1877, were marked by the 
same restless, insatiable thirst and passion for " the something 
new. 7 The Alexander of the arena was ever alert for some un- 
conquered or undiscovered field for his masterful and ambitious 
nature, to enable him to add to his almost unbroken series of 
managerial triumphs. Xo venture, however risky, no enterprise, 
however hazardous, checked his progressive and equally aggres 
sive ambition. His native versatility of expression was only 
equalled by his limitless love of variety. Hippodrome and Rac 
ing Associations which he organized no sooner served their popu 
lar purpose, than a circus of trained horses followed as an accom 
plished fact. A little later he " starred " with the Stowes Circus 
throughout the South. 

A well-nigh miraculous escape from a shocking death attended 
a visit made about this time by Colonel Rice to the pit of a lead 
mine, at Roseclair on the Ohio River, about five miles below 
Elizabeth. Uncle Dan had decided to show at this mining town 
and give a benefit there in aid of the sappers families, many of 
whom some time previous had been rendered destitute by the 
devastation caused by the ravages of fire and flood. Accepting 
an invitation to accompany Mr. Chittendon, the mining superin 
tendent, on a visit into the labyrinth of lead, Colonel Rice was soon 
at the bottom of the main shaft. After making a few minutes 
round of inspection, it was suggested that a visit be made to 
where a lar^e body of miners were employed, w r hen Uncle Dan 
could make known, after an introduction, the benevolent pur 
pose of his visit. About thirty feet from the main shaft Mr. 
Rice, whilst examining the peculiar construction of the roofing 
and shoring system, noticed directly over head a great seam in a 



160 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

chamber braced by heavy beams, the fissure extending some dis 
tance down and diagonally towards the well of the main shaft. 
He imagined as he noted the deep crevice that it appeared, to 
his distorted vision, to open and close, widen and warp from 
time to time. Suddenly he became possessed of an uncanny 
premonition, a sense of impending disaster, and turning rather 
abruptly to Mr. Chittendon requested him to defer his intended 
visit to the miners until the following day, pleading meanwhile 
personal discomfiture due to his unusual surroundings. A few 
minutes later, when Superintendent Chittendon and Colonel Eice 
had reached terra firma, a sudden sound, half-rumble, half-roar, 
accompanied by a quivering sensation as if the ground beneath 
their feet was as so much shifting sand, and followed by a dense 
cloud of smoke from a distant shaft, forecasted the horrible 
holocaust that followed. In twenty minutes the great cavern 
of lead collapsed, burying the unfortunate miners in its ruins. 



CHAPTER XX. 

LIGHTS AND SHADOWS BREASTING THE TIDE SINKING OF 
THE STEAMBOAT " DAMSEL " " EXCELSIOR^ " REMARKABLE 
RESCUE JOHN HOGAN^S HEROISM COL. RICE S ROYAL 
RECEPTION AT SAN FRANCISCO MRS. MARK HOPKINS S 
FRANK AVOWAL ONE OF THE MOST PAINFUL, PLEASANT, 
AND PROFITABLE INCIDENTS IN COL. RICE S CAREER 
TWO UNPARALLELED MISFORTUNES A RAILROAD FIRE 
AND FINANCIAL FAILURE, BRINGING RUIN TO THE 
GREAT CLOWN TWO FORTUNES SWEPT AWAY A PROVI 
DENTIAL INCIDENT. 

THE succeeding six years, crowded as they were with the di 
versified interests and manifold incidents inseparable from 
life on the road, only served to throw new lights and shadows 
on Uncle Dan s kaleidoscopic career. Now the shadows were 
growing deeper, tinged with the blinding mists of domestic and 
financial complications, then again a silver strand fringed the 
gloomiest prospects. The indomitable spirit of Uncle Dan began 
to bend under the strain. Business reverses occurred and re 
curred with startling rapidity, at unexpected intervals. Mis 
fortunes seemed to crowd thick and fast upon his heels. Bank 
rupted, crushed with weight of accumulated debts, and broken in 
health, Colonel Rice was forced to face fearful odds to breast the 
tide which had set in against him. Still with heroic persistence 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 161 

he fought on to recover his old prestige and its rewards. In the 
summer of 1879, while in transit from St. Louis to Northern 
.Nebraska, a calamity overtook the great show about seventy-five 
miles below Decatur on the Missouri River. The steamboat 
" Damsel/ which was conveying the entire circus exhibits, em 
bracing not only the entire property necessary to an arenic enter 
tainment, but treasures of untold value to Colonel Rice and his 
employees was destroyed by fire all in all a most disastrous and 
disheartening experience. The steamer and cargo proved an ir 
redeemable loss, with but one exception, the peerless blind equine 
marvel, " Excelsior/ who was enabled to swim ashore in the 
terrifying storm, guided by his faithful groom, John Hogan. 

From Cincinnati to San Francisco in the year 1882, Colonel 
Rice went overland with the John Robinson troupe. 

A remarkable circumstance in connection with this visit to the 
Golden Gate, and which at the time became the all-absorbing 
subject of the circus world, was developed by the fact that this 
circus combination was doomed on all sides by the devotees of the 
sawdust circle to be a dismal and most disastrous undertaking. 
It was dubbed, and apparently justly so, a makeshift affair, a sort 
of counterfeit presentment in the circus line. On the whole a 
second-hand show of the most antiquated type. In truth, Uncle 
Dan was to enact the Herculean role of a " circus colossus," bear 
the brunt of the whole business, prove to be the bright particular 
star, the supreme satellite around which every other performing 
appendange was to scintillate, pretty much as a tallow dip might, 
through some astronomical miracle, be suffered to wink and 
wither in the wagging wake of a comet s tail. But the dismal 
and disastrous prediction of the past proved far from verification 
in the near-by future, at least in one direction. Whether Uncle 
Dan proved to be the all-absorbing orb, or the appendages builded 
better than the circus critics knew; or whether an estimable and 
wealthy lady, by one touch of nature proved a mascot to the 
alleged misfit menage, one fact survives all shafts of prophetic 
and forecasted failure, inasmuch as that tour netted a profit of 
well-nigh $300,000. When the Colonel, with the "Robinson 
Rovers," reached Frisco, he was confronted with a condition of 
things wholly unparalleled in all his circus career. The city took 
on a holiday dress. The mining spirit of 49 dominated, per 
meated everything. The route of the grand street parade pre 
sented scenes hitherto without precedent in the history of the 
empire city of the Pacific slope. The home-coming of a con 
quering hero, laden with the priceless treasures of foreign con 
quest may, in a measure, serve to reflect to the mind s eye of the 
render some idea of the overwhelming character of the ovation 
which greeted the Prince of Jesters as he was escorted through 
11 



162 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

the city. The business as well as residential portions of the line 
of march furnished a bewilderingly beautiful picture, the build 
ings being decorated with bunting, banners, bannerets, and other 
devices, in which Old Glory s colors blended again. Flags and 
flowers flanked the procession as it wended its way amid the 
dense mass of humanity that greeted its progress*. Floral arches 
of every conceivable design bridged streets and avenues, great 
banners, emblazoned with the inscriptions " Welcome to Dan 
Rice," " Hail to the Prince of Jesters/ etc., paid flattering tribute 
to the genial and popular Uncle Dan. A somewhat sensational 
incident occurred during the passage of this most triumphal spec 
tacle. A wheel became detached from one of the chariots pre 
ceding the carriage which Colonel Rice occupied. The accident 
happened in front of Busch s Hotel. The Colonel s vehicle was 
quickly surrounded by anxious and enthusiastic friends and ad 
mirers. Old " Forty-niners " hurried forward and started to un 
hitch the horses and bear off, on their stalwart shoulders, the 
laughing but embarrassed occupant. Presently a handsome 
woman, whose charming face was familiar to the excited and 
bustling bystanders, elbowed her way through the throng and 
reached the side of the now rescued Rice. Extending her hand 
she exclaimed, " Why, Dan, how are you; don t you know me? " 
In the crush and confusion Colonel Rice, for a moment, evidently 
failed to meet the situation with his wonted gallantry. In a 
flash a pair of feminine arms encircled his expansive shoulders; 
well, something happened, something, perhaps, too divinely fine 
for the most adroitly delicate touch of biographic description to 
attempt to portray. If the situation then and there was half as 
trying in the concrete to Colonel Rice as it is now in the abstract 
to his biographer, the discomfiture of the genial jester must have 
indeed been complete. But then there are circumstances, if 
not situations, when the truthful chronicler is constrained to 
suppress her emotions, and impelled by a sense of duty to record 
what she hears, if what she sees should only be viewed as through 
a glass darkly. When Uncle Dan, however, a moment later had 
pleaded many apologies for his apparent forgetfulness, why then 
and there something was said which brought up the Colonel with 
such a sudden round turn, that doubtless all Californians in 
general, and Friscans in particular, to this day, have but to 
recall to be convulsed. Still retaining the blushing and be 
wildered Rice in her embrace, and within earshot of a hundred 
spectators, the fair admirer of other days, with an artless, girlish 
abandon, enthusiastically exclaimed, "Why, Uncle Dan, I 
danced with you in my native town. You hugged and kissed 
me then, and we were very good friends until well, until you 
pinched me in the stomach and I got mad, but never mind, let 



BEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 1G3 

us make up now." The effect was electrical. For a brief mo 
ment the onlookers regarded alternately with amazement the 
withal thoroughly self-possessed lady and the confused and over 
wrought Rice; amazement, however, was rapidly followed by 
mingling roars of laughter and applause. Speaking of the oc 
casion in later years Colonel Rice said it proved to be at once 
the most painful, pleasurable, and profitable experience of his 
entire existence in the show business, adding that it was the 
prime cause of the success of the show, the extraordinary incident 
liaving been exploited by the press and public to the utmost limit. 
The charming cause of this most spectacular and sensational 
scene was the beautiful and great-hearted widow of Mark Hop 
kins, the California multi-millionaire. This estimable lady, 
during the stay of the show at Frisco, expended upwards of 
$1,000 through the purchase and distribution of circus tickets to 
the school children, orphans, and waifs within the city s limits. 

The years of 1872 and 1873 were marked by two events pa 
thetically suggestive, not only in their nearness, but in the order 
of their happening, events so strangely reciprocal that they will 
be invested with a peculiar interest to the reader, resulting as 
both did in losses practically beyond redemption. The first oc 
curred when fire destroyed, in one of the cars of the train con 
veying Colonel Rice s troupe on its farewell tours through the 
West, the priceless treasures of a lifetime of patient hoarding; 
trophies, tributes, testimonials, gifts of the rarest and most costly 
devices set in precious stones and prized beyond all pecuniary 
standards of value, gathered together from all parts of the world, 
expressive of the esteem, the friendship, and the affectionate in 
terest in which he was held, and which bound him, like so many 
golden links, to the professional and social triumphs of the past. 

The greatest loss, however, was sustained in the destruction of 
the data, diaries, scrap-books, clippings, letters, portraits, etc., 
which were to form the material of these memoirs. As a result, 
the reader may, in some small degree, appreciate the herculean 
task involved in the preparation of this work, necessitating, as it 
did, an enormous expenditure of time and money. Following 
closely in the train of these seemingly hopeless conditions which 
confronted Colonel Rice when he saw the basic source of the in 
spiration wherewith to build his autobiographic sketch of his 
checkered life forever swept away, there came another and appar 
ently more overwhelming calamity when the great banking house 
of Jay Cooke & Co. announced that it could not meet its obliga 
tions (1873). The collapse of this financial tower came like the 
shock of an earthquake over the civilized world. It was a tre 
mendous catastrophe. Colonel Rice was a depositor, in fact, the 
bulk of his fortune, $80,000, was in the vaults of that firm. The 



164: REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

night prior to the crash Colonel Rice,, who was in Indianapolis 
at the time, received a telegram from a friend reciting the ru 
mored involvement. At midnight he chartered a special car and 
locomotive and hurried to Washington. But the harm had been 
done; the great banking institution had closed its doors and 
Uncle Dan s possessions were forever lost. It was to him a mad 
dening situation. The pecuniary loss was bad enough it dazed 
him. But while his philosophic nature enabled him to meet 
that disheartening aspect, he became desperate, dangerously so, 
when he recalled how Jay Cooke, his confidant and friend, be 
trayed and wrecked him. The sense of monetary loss was as 
nothing to the realization of the sacrificed friendship, confidence, 
and trust which he reposed in the great, and, withal honest, 
financier. It was gall and wormwood to the soul of the genial 
Uncle Dan. For two days and nights he sought out the cause 
of this apparently unpardonable sin. Every device, every pre 
text, every influence was brought to bear to secure an interview 
with Mr. Cooke. The failures in that direction were indeed most 
fortunate, providentially so. It may be added that the failure 
also involved many of Colonel Rice s associates, among whom 
was his ringmaster, whose life savings, $20,000, were swallowed 
up in the collapse. It also may be of interest to note that the 
same personal friend at Washington who apprised Colonel Rice 
of the gossiped embarrassment of the big banking firm was an 
intimate of President Johnson s, hence the latter s rapid move in 
withdrawing $50,000 the night preceding the banker s downfall. 
The years 1884 and 1885 found Colonel Rice on the lecture plat 
form touring the Southwestern States. This new departure was 
the signal for innumerable popular demonstrations throughout 
his itinerary, surpassing, certainly from a social viewpoint, every 
previous reception accorded the versatile veteran in the palmiest 
days of his circus career. The succeeding year Colonel Rice 
sought again to retrieve his somewhat impaired fortunes by em 
barking in another gigantic enterprise. At Cairo, 111., he con 
structed a floating opera house with which he made a circuit of 
the South. It was not a financial success. Seemingly it was the 
beginning of the end; mayhap it marked the close of the pro 
fessional career of the most gifted man that ever, garbed in mot 
ley, entered the canopied arena of the circus ring. Failing 
health and financial losses again impelled the peerless Prince of 
Jesters to feel sadly in need of a well-merited retirement, perma 
nent perhaps in his isolation from public view as an entertainer 
in roles in which he had won his greatest laurels. What shape 
destiny has decreed his life story should develop these pages have 
at least sought to faintly reflect, and yet, however vague in out 
lines the marvellous tale may prove, sufficient light, it is hoped, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 165 

has been thrown upon the background of his noble character to 
inspire the reader as well as the recorder with a grateful tribute 
to Father Time that so remarkable a man lived so long to link 
so great a past with our younger generation. From the abun 
dant proceeds of his ministry of mirth schools have been built, 
soldiers monuments erected, seamen s homes founded, orphan 
asylums established, and churches endowed. Throughout the 
length and breadth of his native land the memory of his munifi 
cent deeds will be in itself an enduring monument. To his gen 
erous countrymen and the patriotic, peerless women of three 
generations this book is now most respectfully and most affection 
ately dedicated. 



13006. 



RICE S PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS. 

MEN HE MET INCIDENTS AND IMPRESSIONS 
TRIBUTES CAUSTIC CRITICISMS. 



first circus known in the history of Ancient Rome was 
JL the Circus Maximus, located on a strip of land between 
the Palatine and Aventine Hills. This was a glorious period of 
Roman history. Since then a long line of " fools/ " gestours," 
" jongleurs," etc., has descended to these days. The permanence 
of the character of the jester is not surprising when the useful 
ness of his functions is considered. " To shoot folly as it flies," 
and with pointed wit to strike and burst the bubble of the hour, 
and to do so, evoking the laughter of an audience without causing 
a pang or blush, is no mean accomplishment. We need not won 
der, therefore, to find the names and sayings of " fools " carried 
down the stream of history with those of kings and poets and 
warriors. One of these waifs is familiar to the readers of " Edin 
burgh Review," though few are aware that its caustic motto, by 
Publius Syrus, " Judex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur," is the 
sentence of a Roman clown. The editor of Ree s Encyclopaedia 
remarks: 

" We with difficulty can imagine some of the grave and 
judicious reflections of Syrus to be extracted from the panto 
mimes which he exhibited on the stage. The applause given to 
the pieces of Plautus and Terence did not prevent even the better 
sort from admiring these pantomimic farces when enlivened by 
wit and not debased by indecency. The mimographic poets of 
the Romans, who chiefly distinguished themselves in these 
dramatic exhibitions, were Cneius Matius, Decimus Liberius, 
Publius Syrus, under Julius Caesar; Philiston, under Augustus; 
Silo, under Tiberius; Virgilius Romanus, under Trajan, and Mar 
cus Marcellus, under Antoninus. But the most celebrated of all 
these were Decimus Liberius and Publius Syrus. The first di 
verted Julius Caesar so much that he made him a Roman knight 
and conferred on him the privilege of wearing gold rings. He 



168 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

had such a wonderful talent at seizing ridicule as to make every 
one dread his abilities. To this Cicero alludes in writing to Tre- 
butius, when he was in Britain with Julius Caesar, telling him 
that if he was absent much longer inactive he must be expected 
to be attacked by the mime Liberius. Publius Syrus, however, 
gained so much more applause that he retired to Puteoli, where 
he consoled himself for his disgrace and the inconstancy of the 
people, and the transient state of human affairs by the following 
admirable verse: 

" Cecidi ego: vade et qui sequitur: laus est publica. 
" A similar sentiment is thus expressed by Dr. Johnson, 

" New fashions rise, and different views engage, 
Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage. 

" In England the jester was formerly held in considerable es 
teem. It should be noted, however, that there was generally a 
distinction between the office of the Jester and that of the 
fool/ the former being deemed honorable. It was frequently 
filled by an educated gentleman, while the latter was considered 
menial. One Berdic joculator to William the Conqueror was 
presented with three towns and five caracutes in Gloucestershire. 
Will Sommers, jester to Henry VII., was also a man of mark 
and his portrait is preserved at Hampton Court. Archie Arm 
strong, court fool to James I., must have been a great favorite, 
for that tobacco-eating monarch actually granted him a patent 
for the manufacture of pipes. And it is even surmised that the 
prince of all dramatists and poets, Shakespeare himself, once ful 
filled an engagement as jester. There are four years of his life 
unaccounted for, unless the clue may be found in a letter ad 
dressed in that period by Sir Philip Sidney to his father-in-law, 
Walsingham. He says, I wrote to you a letter by Will, my 
Lord of Leicester s jesting player/ Mr. Bruce, in the first vol 
ume of the Shakespeare Society s papers, asks, Who was Will? 
Besides Shakespeare there were only two players of the name 
known at that time. 

" As might be expected, the true ideal of a professional jester 
is to be found in Shakespeare s e Yorick, the King s jester, the 
absence of whose eloquent and loving lips Hamlet mourns when 
contemplating his skull. A fellow of infinite jest, of most ex 
cellent fancy, he elevated or rather restored in his representa 
tion the character of a clown from that of a coarse buffoon to that 
of a merry doctor of philosophy, sometimes attempting the cure 
of vice and folly after the manner desired by the cynical Jaques. 



KEMIXISCENCES OF DAN RICE 169 

" Invest me in my motley; give me leave 

To speak my mind and I will through and through 
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world 
If they will patiently receive my medicine/ 

Sometimes purging out loathed melancholy by the exhibition 
of wholesome mirth, sometimes brightening even cheerfulness 
itself by means of 

" Quips and cranks and wanton wiles, 
Nods and becks and wreathed smiles, 
Sport that wrinkled care derides 
And laughter holding both his sides/ 

and at all times infusing the spirit of wisdom in the wine of mer 
riment. The advantages of the motley suit are very apparent. 
The sense of the ludicrous is awakened by the eye before it is 
excited by the ear, and thus the way is prepared for the pros 
perity of the jest which, as Shakespeare says, lies principally in 
the ear of him that hears it. Like the wearers of other profes 
sional costumes, legal and clerical, jesters are privileged to say 
and do many things which would not be kindly received from 
laymen. And as children require pills to be gilded and medi 
cine to be sweetened, so many a salutary and unpalatable lesson 
may be administered in the guise of a joke. These things con 
sidered, it may be doubted whether the proportion of folly is not 
greater in the wearers of sober suits than in those disguised as 
clowns and fools." 

The first place among the eulogies of our Prince of Jesters 
must be given to the following sonnet by a true poet: 

" Full oft thy efforts in the mimic art 

I ve watched, and marvelled at those facile powers 
That through the bright and swiftly gliding hours 

That through the bright and swiftly gliding hours 
In truth I scarcely know what is thy part, 

Whether to play the fool in sparkling showers 

Of jest, or in this sinning world of ours 
With sterling wisdom to amend the heart. 

But this I know thy genial wit for me 
Hath stirred life s pulses beating weak and slow, 
And chased the heavy shadows from my brow 

And lit my languid eye with healthful glee. 
And so I pray thy gifts may long remain 
To gladden future days and banish care and pain." 

" A merry heart doeth good like medicine," and is generally 
the offspring of benevolence seeking to diffuse the happiness it 



170 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

enjoys. The veteran jester here self-portrayed is an eminent 
example of this rule and of the reward of the unselfish. " Love, 
honor, reverence, and troops of friends/ are his, and his many 
charities may cover the imperfection his enemies would discover. 
It will readily be believed that our task has been easy and 
agreeable. Thousands can testify of our dictator, that 

" A merrier man within the limits of becoming mirth 
I never passed an hour s talk withal." 

In conclusion we can only wish that you may have as much 
pleasure in reading as we have had in " taking the life " of the 
"Jester Clown," Dan Eice. 

******* 

" Three decades ago I doffed the costume of a clown. But my 
memory reverts to the good old days of the motley when I made 
mirth for the multitude and money for myself. I am disgusted 
with the circus of to-day, which is no more than a big show. 
The idea of performances in four rings at once is absurd, while 
the clown, who in former days was the standard and star at 
traction of every circus, has sunk to the level of a mere panto- 
mimist. The market rule with these big aggregations seems to 
be quantity at the expense of quality. Oh! for the circus of our 
daddies, when the entrance of one into Wayback or Torpidtown 
meant a holiday for all the country round. The circus of to-day 
is but a mountebank show. 

" I think the general decadence of the clown in this land has 
been brought about by the encroachments on the field of fun by 
the newspaper paragrapher. He has, with his flashes of humor 
and wit, gradually forced the men of the motley out of sight; his 
audience is more readily reached, but is not so responsive to 
subtle wit as when it is presented keenly by an inflection or 
modulation of the voice. The retirement of the clown has not 
been caused at all by a dearth of mirth-makers and satirists. 
Humor is made by Dame Nature in her merriest moods. It is, 
withal, a scarce commodity; there is little of it in the market. 
A humorist is by the Almighty made. A wit is a feather, he 
shifts with every wind; a satirist, a rod he cuts; a humorist one 
of the grandest works of God. Bob Ingersoll was not a wit. He 
simply catered to the vitiated appetites of the uncultured minds 
of the masses. Artemus Ward, Mark Twain, and other great 
humorists have arrayed against them a long record of uncredited 
jests, puns, yarns, and humor stolen from the ring. I class 
them not as genuine humorists, such as Minor Griswold, who was 
born to his humor, and reeled it out not with a crank, but as the 
ebullition of his nature prompts it. Wit comes by rote. The 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 171 

secret of the modern humorist s success is best known by the true 
humorist. But, alas, this is an age of plagiarists! I never said 
a witty thing, to recognize it as such at the time, but my mental 
storehouse has at intervals leaked little drops of wisdom and 
panned out nuggets of sense. Park Benjamin called me as 
scathing a satirist as Ben Jonson. Let the people judge of the 
truth of this. 

" But about the clown. People used to go to a circus to laugh. 
I discovered that fact early in my career, and made money out 
of it. A successful clown must possess more intellect, abilitv, 
and originality than a comedian. He must be a crack mimic, an 
elocutionist, a satirist, and so ready-witted that he, to the ring 
master, is a stupid fool, a buffoon; to the audience a wise man, 
whose every remark is impregnated with philosophy as well as 
humor. This is the dual character of the true clown. No mat 
ter how badly a clown may feel, no matter what sorrows and 
cares may burden his life, while with laugh and jest and sparkling 
quip he seeks to allay the sufferings of others, he must conceal 
his own. More than once I have played with a breaking heart 
and was at my best in making the multitudes merry. Ah, there 
has been pathos in the jester s life, tears as well as laughter, sun 
shine chased away by shadows. Ah, well, life is like a cocktail 
it needs a dash of bitters to make it palatable. 

" About myself? Well, I achieved greatness in life at an early 
age. Twas when I was scrub-deck on a Mississippi flatboat that 
I became great. I carried the tails of President William Henry 
Harrison s long great coat as he swept majestically down the 
gangplank. But, unfortunately, my kindly office proved fatal. 
I lifted his coat so high as to expose his thinly clad nether limbs 
to the keen air until the President contracted the cold from 
which he died. Thus was fulfilled the front end of Old Hickory 
Jackson s prophecy about me. 

" The clowns of European circuses were all pantomimists, 
called trick clowns, or ( wiesers. To America belongs the honor 
of producing the first ( talking clown, or jester, in the person of 
Joe Blackburn, who made his appearance in England about 1831. 
He was an uncle of the present Kentucky senator of the same 
name. Joe was a scholar as well as a gentleman jester, and was 
born in Mason County, Ky. A graduate of Dansville College, he 
was highly cultured and possessed of marvellous wit, much wis 
dom, faultless grace, and Chesterfieldian manners. His chief 
charms to the susceptible were his songs, sung in a mellow, pathet 
ically sweet voice never to be forgotten. His wit was pure and 
sparkling, his jests and songs models of chasteness. Little won 
der that he was a man of many friends. W. F. Wallett, better 
known in England and America as " the Queen s jester," was at 



172 BEMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

the time a comedian of repute. He studied Blackburn s creation 
of the clown, and from him drew his conception of the character. 
Wallett was the beau ideal of a Touchstone. He was also a 
collegian, well up in standard literature, a Shakespearian stu 
dent, and a widely read man. He became a clown, he told me, 
because there was more money to be made by playing the fool. 
Wallett had all the easy assurance, gentle ways, and polish of 
society, but in my mind, had not, in its entirety, the right con 
ception of his character. He recited Shakespeare inimitably in 
the ring whenever he could apply it to circumstances, interpret 
ing truly the language of the author. Xow I had a different 
idea of the character of the clown, and early won the title of 
Shakespearian Jester by my little paraphrases of the Bard of 
Avon, now so familiar to all schoolboys. Wallett made his first 
American appearance in John Tryon s circus, in Astor Place, in 
the fall of 1850. I made my debut in Xew York at S. B. Howes 
Circus, where Palmo s Opera House afterwards stood, in Cham 
bers Street. Wallett was a great drawing card in Xew York, 
and attracted the attention of the elite. I was then clown 
regnant to the American people. Although no direct challenge 
had passed between Wallett and myself, it was generally under 
stood that we were pitted against each other in the contest for 
public approval. With an eye to a sensation, I engaged Wallett 
to play in my circus, thus narrowing down the contest for su 
premacy. As a result, a decided sensation was created. We 
played to enormous business, opening in Xed Orleans. I took 
a great liking to Wallett, introducing him at each performance 
with merited praise, and seeing that his name appeared in larger 
print than my own. 

" Xow for the difference between the two clowns. Wallett, 
when occasion permitted, quoted Shakespeare in an eloquent, 
impassioned manner that commanded admiration for his ability 
and scholarly training. I followed with a paraphrase. For in 
stance, once Wallett quoted from Macbeth the familiar Is this 
a dagger I see before me, etc. When I came on with a great 
nourish I paraphrased it thus: 

" Is that a beefsteak I see before me 
With the burnt side toward my hand? 
Let me clutch thee! I have thee not, 
And yet I see thee still in form as palpable 
As that I ate for breakfast this morning. 

" That sort of wit delighted circus-goers all over the land. I 
^nd a marked advantage over my beloved friend Wallet, in that 
I had added to my comicalities by dancing, tumbling, leaping, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 173 

and riding. Wallet t and I were great friends, though an ocean 
separated me from that grand merrymaker, now gathered to his 
fathers, but not until he had been honored with the title by 
royalty itself of 6 The Queen s Jester. 7 

u There is money in the circus business. All that s necessary 
it to get it out. 1 have often been asked what was the highest 
salary I ever received. For my services and the use of my name 
for nine years I drew $1,000 a week. At the end of that time I 
had to borrow my carfare home. A pig was the means of making 
a showman of me. In 1841 I was a partner in a livery business 
at Ferry and Front Streets, Pittsburg, when a man named Os- 
borne, of Cazenovia, X. Y., came there to exhibit an educated 
pig. I was so impressed with the tricks of the animal that I saw 
big money in it. I sold out my share in the livery business, and 
with the proceeds purchased Osborne s pig and started on the 
road. Osborne afterward was a doorkeeper of the New York 
Assembly. My pig made money for me. He told a person s 
age by cards and indicated affirmative and negative answers by 
motions of his head. My first hit I made with the pig was at 
Green sburg, Pa. A Dutch farmer named Jack had recently had 
his barn burned, and suspected that a recently discharged hand 
had touched the fire. I heard of the fire and old Herr Jack s 
suspicions and saw a rare opportunity for a rich joke and much 
advertising. Jack and his wife were induced to visit my edu 
cated pig, and the farmer, after seeing the creature perform seem 
ingly wonderful feats of intelligence, asked me if the animal 
could tell who fired his barn. I assured him gravely that the pig 
possibly could tell him all about it. I had seen the suspected 
incendiary, and ostensibly proceeded to describe him to the pig, 
asking it occasionally if he was the man. From time to time the 
pig nodded assent, and led the Dutchman to infer that it knew 
the incendiary s age and habits of life. In amazement Herr 
Jack declared the pig to be in league with the devil, as by no 
other means could such a knowledge of the unseen be attained. 
Farmer Jack at once had a warrant issued for the suspect s ar 
rest, and the pig and myself were subpoenaed as witnesses for the 
State. I shall never forget that court scene. The judge had 
been duly posted, and the crowd of spectators looked breathlessly 
on while the pig gave the testimony that sent the accused to jail 
for thirty days, for arson, as the Dutchman thought, but in real 
ity for disorderly conduct, for the pig s testimony was all a 
farce, as the court officials knew I prompted. But the public was 
in ignorance, and the news of the affair sped through all the 
rountrv. and brought thousands of peonle to see the educated 
pig. That was a clever stroVe of advertising. 

" Subsequently I developed into the i Young American Hercu- 



HEMINISCENCES OE DAN KICE 

les, and astonished the country folks by feats of strength, lifting 
2,300 pounds with my back. Well, there are tricks in all trades 
but ours. 

" An amusing episode was in the training of elephants. Once 
I was training a young elephant to stand on its head, a feat, by 
the way, never before or afterwards accomplished, and was sud 
denly called away on business to another section of the country. 
Before going I instructed my under-trainers about this particular 
lesson, and thought my instruction would be faithfully carried 
out. Imagine my consternation when I subsequently rejoined 
the circus to find that my elephant would not stand on its head 
as advertised on the show bills all over the country. I was in 
a sad predicament, and, to add to my consternation, was arrested 
at Elliottsville, N. Y., charged with obtaining money under false 
pretenses, advertising what I was unable to exhibit. It was a 
blue town, and I was hauled before a blue court. I explained 
that it was all a mistake of my advertising agents, who had in 
advertently pasted the elephant pictures upside down on the 
fences, so that they looked like those of a pachyderm standing 
on its head. Strange to say, this story didn t go down. Then I 
assured the court that my elephant could and would stand on its 
head, but as it was a female, innate modesty led it to decline to 
make such a spectacle of itself save under cover of darkness. Of 
course I was then honorably discharged. The story got into the 
papers and was inexpensive advertising. 

" Really, I had wonderful success as a trainer and subjugator 
of wild beasts. With patience and an apt pupil I made a tight 
rope walker of the great elephant Lalla Rookh, who made her 
appearance in that role at Niblo s. Besides, I subjugated the 
fiercest of her kind that ever killed people in this country. 
The secret of the wild animal trainer is tact. Will-power goes 
for little, but judgment a long ways. Until my day, bearding a 
lion in his den was thought the most daring feat of the circus 
man, but I trained the kings of the forest so they played and 
gambolled harmlessly about in the sawdust arena. The great 
awe of the lion is inspired by his ferocious appearance. He 
isn t so bloodthirsty as he looks. His growls are often for very 
joy, but the audience don t know it. A lion always growls for 
joy when his food appears, and grows to caress the hand that 
feeds him. I always fed my lions while training them, and they 
always growled with displeasure when I left them. But the pub 
lic does not understand it that way. Lion-training is not of 
necessity dangerous, not more so than elephant training. I once 
tamed a rhinoceros, a hitherto unaccomplished act. They had 
been said to be untamable, but I taught mine a simple trick or 
two that pleased the people vastly. However, a rhinoceros is, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 175 

indeed, a veritable leatherhead and can t be taught much. 
Horses and dogs are susceptible of much education, and lions can 
be readily taught many of the tricks done by cats. 

" The secret of making money with a good show lies in the 
advertising of it. The only question is how to do the most effec 
tive advertising. I found no advertising more profitable than 
that obtained by me or my circus being attacked from the pulpit, 
which was sometimes the case, though I am, and for many years 
have been, a stanch supporter of the Christian religion. Down 
in Tennessee, in my money-making days, I caused to be given 
a circus performance for the sole benefit of a church in the town 
where we lay. Then the pastor of another church bitterly at 
tacked circuses in general, and mine and me in particular. His 
attacks were reverted to in the ring, and I did my best to ridicule 
him, but not his holy calling, and enlisted the people of that 
section in the squabble. His name was Chapman, and I shot 
satire at him until, realizing his mistake, he withdrew his bat 
teries. But the war was so much inexpensive advertising for me. 
Afterward I ran across this same clergyman living in Grenada, 
Miss. I opened on him in the ring there, and he soon left the 
field. Up in Xew York State the Eev. Dr. Dunham, Baptist, 
began a crusade against the devil and Dan Eice. The latter 
looked out for himself, and the fight went so well that neither 
Dr. Dunham nor the devil have been in that town since. 

" Another method of advertising was also forced upon my at 
tention. It was being arrested. Several times I have been in 
durance vile, with great benefit to my finances. Once I was ar 
rested and locked up in the old Blue Eagle Jail, in Elmira, and 
the news was telegraphed far and wide that the biggest rascal 
unhung was caged in that town. I stayed there a couple of 
weeks, won the sympathies of the people, and when I emerged 
from the jail gave circus performances there until I got nearly 
all the money in town. I had been arrested for a miserable little 
debt that I didn t owe, but I made it pay me big returns. This 
event boomed business and put me on my feet again. The im 
prisonment I commemorated in a popular song of forty years ago, 
The Blue Eagle Jail. Several times in my life as a showman 
I was arrested in towns where fanaticism s fires burned high, 
charged with vagrancy. Mind you, vagrancy, and my profession 
worth thousands a year to me. It took a strong argument at 
times to secure my release, but I always came off victorious on 
the merits of the case. In fact, I enjoyed the arrests, which were 
the cheapest and most effective advertising my shows could get. 
My old circus also got a great boom when one of my canvasmen 
killed a man up York State by a blow with a neck yoke. The 
affair cost me $13,000. The canvasman died a good Methodist 



170 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

a year or so ago, and but few people ever knew that he had killed 
his man. 

u When the war came on I hastened Xorth, and though I never 
carried a gun, Dan Rice s circus made money for patriotic pur 
poses. At the close of the war I settled down at Girard, Pa., 
having there a magnificent country place on the edge of Lake 
Erie. Attached to the premises was a splendid park of fine trees, 
and to it, during a temporary absence, I sent a party of titled 
Englishmen to shoot. 1 never saw them afterward, but I heard 
from them. They had anticipated fine sport and big game, but 
when they presented their passes and asked for the head for 
ester/ there arose a slight misunderstanding. My game preserve 
was populated by a lame elk, three worn-out circus buffaloes, and 
a couple of stuffed black bears. They went buffalo-hunting first, 
but the critters refused to run; they shot the stuffed bears full 
of bullets, and the lame elk followed them about like a lamb. 
Then it gradually dawned upon them that they had been made 
the victims of a practical joke, and they left Girard in high 
dudgeon. 

" And now to think, after all these years and all my narrow 
escapes by field and flood, I am sitting here quietly in the twi 
light of advancing years, convinces me that there is a divinity 
that shapes our ends. It seems strange that here at Long Branch 
under such peculiar, quiet circumstances, after years of struggles 
and triumphs, where my ancestry lived and died, I should have 
solved the greatest of problems, the secret of contentment." 

"HEY, RUBE!" THE CRY. 

THE OMINOUS SLOGAN OF THE OLD-TIME CIRCUS MEN ALWAYS 
A PRELUDE TO BATTLE THE CANVASMEN WERE FAMOUS 
FIGHTERS, AND WERE EVER READY FOR TROUBLE TIMES 
HAVE CHANGED NOW, AND THE CIRCUS COMES AND GOEb 

IN PEACE. 

The circus fight is not what it used to be. Canvasmen have 
forgotten the traditions of their younger days, and it is no un 
common thing for the whole circus to go into a town, show two or 
three times and then gather up all the small boys and some of the 
large girls and go on to the next town without having once heard 
the cry of " Hey, Rube! " and without having seen or heard of 
a single fight. 

This is not the way it used to be. Time was when the circus 
had to go about the country prepared to break heads as well as 
hearts, and while the dandies of the company were making havoc 



11EMIXISCENCES OF DAX RICE 177 

with the flighty young women who semed to think bareback 
riding was the way to perfect happiness, the other men the ones 
whose talent lay in big muscle and hard lists were usually busy 
in leaving their print on the noses of all the bullies in town. 
Older men of to-day will remember some of the fights back in the 
days before the war, when it really looked as if the spirit of the 
country had developed to such a point that a little blood-letting 
was necessary, such as old Zach Chandler had said. But one does 
not need to go back to antebellum eras. Circus fights continued 
clear down to the end of the last decade, though in the past ten 
years one seems to notice a marked falling off in number of 
fatalities. 

Showmen themselves used to keep a record of the hard towns, 
and if they could get through one of them without a row they 
felt like congratulating themselves. And they also kept a list 
of the good fighters, and when the show season came along these 
fellows with records had a much surer chance of employment 
that did the men of whom the boss canvasmen knew nothing. 
Cohoes, X. Y., used to be considered one of the hardest towns in 
the country for a circus. It was a town that paid pretty well 
if the show got through at all, but it was given up to the sluggers 
from the iron works on show days, and the police had no more 
control over affairs than if they had never been born. Oldtown, 
Me., was another bad one, providing the show came along in the 
spring or fall, but if it was in the middle of the season, when 
the men were either in the woods or not yet come up from the 
low^er country, then the fights might not occur at all. Paterson, 
X. J., was one of the hardest towns on the continent for circus 
fights, and even Champaign, 111., is down on the showman s black- 
book for a very combative name. 

Scranton, Pa., and, indeed, every coal mining or iron working 
district, was expected to furnish a fight every time the canvas 
was raised in it. And it might surprise some people to know 
that educational centres had a much worse name for this species 
of lawlessness than did any of the rude districts of the unlettered 
plains. It took unnumbered thumpings for the men at Yale to 
learn they could not successfully lam the whole travelling out 
fit, but they seemed to have imbibed wisdom at last. Ann Arbor, 
the seat of the Michigan University, was one of the last to learn 
the same salutary lesson, but the advent of the railroad show and 
the disbanding of the companies that were carried about the 
country in wagons seemed to bring some degree of discretion 
even to these young men. 

Down at Jacksonville, Tex., in 1873, Robinson s show under 
took to exhibit and they got into one of the hardest fights on 
record. The battle lasted from three in the afternoon till mid- 
12 



178 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

night, and twenty-three men were killed and more than fifty 
wounded. At Somerset, Ky., in 1850, Barnum s show ran across 
a very bad gang of railroad men, and in the tight which followed, 
twenty persons were killed, among them several women. Fore- 
paugh s men got into a row with roughs in Kentucky once, and 
before it ended they had followed him for three days, stopping 
his show in that many towns. 

John O Brien, who, in 1873, ran the best circus on the road, 
used to carry what they called the Irish Brigade. They were a 
lot of men who seemed to be hired for the general work of can- 
vasmen, but whose duties were really to do all necessary fighting. 
They were trained in it from the toughest parts of tough cities, 
and they loved a row. They were never beaten, and when they 
struck a gang of rowdies they always wore them out very 
promptly. At Quincy, 111., in 1872, some of the three-card- 
monte men and thieves who always go with a show if they can, 
robbed a boy, and a negro policeman undertook to arrest them. 
A showman came to the assistance of the sharpers, and a row 
followed, in which the negro was killed. The local militia com 
pany assisted the town officers, and every man belonging to the 
circus was arrested. In the trial which followed, the circus man 
was acquitted, but the first to start the trouble was fined $400 for 
assaulting an officer. 

In every one of these cases the circus men go along together as 
long as they can without getting whipped, and then they raise 
the cry "Hey, Eube! " This seems to be a slogan which calls 
to the asistance of the man making it all the men in the show. 
It is, to any man who understands it, a terrible cry. It means 
as no other expression in the language does, that a fierce, deadly 
fight is on, that men who are far away from home must band 
together in a struggle that means life or death to them, and that 
the men outside who have incurred their enmity must expect 
every inch of ground to be bitterly contested. "Hey, Eube!" 
is the battle crv of the showmen. No one ever raises it unless he 
is in dire straits, and when once heard every man is bound by 
the law of self-preservation to go to an instant relief. The cry 
was raised in Montpelier some twenty-five years ago, and the 
fight that followed was so severe that the legislature for many 
years refused to grant circuses a license in Vermont. 

One time I was showing in a Southern town when my tent 
was blown down. The roof part was ruined, so I had to show the 
next day with only the walls up, and the people sat there in the 
sun and had a good time until two drunken loafers insisted on 
coming in without paying, and then a bitter fight began, ending 
in the killing of four men and the serious wounding of many 
more. Along in the sixties Yankee Robinson and Frank Howe s 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 179 

shows struck an Iowa town on the same day, and as many of the 
showmen had friends in the other party, all got together and 
had one of the wildest times on record. They took the whole 
town, and when the marshal undertook to make an arrest, he 
was knocked down and a riot followed. The State militia had 
to be called out to quell the disturbance, but before it did so 
several men were killed on both sides. In 1881 W. C. Coup s 
show was giving an exhibition at Cartersville, Ga., when the 
town marshal hit one of the hands over the head, and in the row 
that followed, three men were killed and three more crippled for 
life. 

Showmen who tell about these things always lay the blame on 
the bad men of the town or neighborhood where the trouble 
occurs, or on too officious peace officers who try to exercise all 
their authority in a minute. But it often happens that the show 
men are themselves to blame. Sharpers and gamblers of various 
descriptions travelled with the circus and kept in the favor of 
the fighters with the show by giving them a share of the money 
they would take from the countrymen. When the fleeced native 
would insist on the return of his money, he would be met with 
the whole fighting force of the company. It often happens, too, 
that men not really in the employ of the show owners remain with 
it for months at a time and are fruitful of nothing but trouble. 

Of late years the big shows that chiefly go to large cities have 
had more peaceful experiences, and the fight that turns out a riot 
is fast becoming one of the things obsolete. The cry of " Hey, 
Eube! " is falling into such disuse that in a few years the younger 
showmen will have to carry a lexicon along to tell them what the 
time-honored old cry used to mean. 

THE CIRCUS OF THE FUTURE. 

BY DAN KICE. 

An old saw, which everybody has heard, says that history al 
ways repeats itself. The saying can be applied just now to the 
circus business. For the circus business, like history, is about to 
repeat itself. 

Fifty years ago a circus was designed to amuse. It was not 
like the circus of the present, meant to amaze by its glittering 
profusion. An old-time circus comprised an aggregation of solid 
merit. There was then but one performing ring, and everything 
that went on in it was critically watched. The pretty lady bare 
back rider, the gymnasts, and even the clown all had to be at the 
top of their profession to be worthy of an engagement. 

But in the circus of the present, mediocrity reigns. It is now 



180 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

the fashion to have three performing rings, in each of which 
there are simultaneous performances. No person can watch three 
rings at a time, and the circus managers, with the present system 
of gigantic aggregations, can engage some really good performers, 
and can fill in the picture with other cheaper talent, and few in 
an audience can be the wiser. 

Glitter, gaudy costumes, clowns with no wit, but with a physi 
cal aptitude for falling over a ring, and thus, by buffoonery, rais 
ing a laugh, make up the circus of the present. 

But the people are becoming weary of this false presentation 
of a circus, and in the circus of the near future there will be a 
decided return to the good old days of a one-ring circus, and the 
best talent that a manager can procure will be a necessity, not 
an incidental, as at present. This movement is already in the 
air, and next year there will be several of the old-time shows, 
which, to the present generation of yuung circus lovers, are new. 

The first two-ring circus that ever was formed was that of the 
Great Eastern Aggregation, of which George W. De Haven, in 
1866, was the manager. Then came P. T. Barnum and his triple- 
ring combination, and since then until the past year no one has 
dared to take a proper step and make a one-ring first-class circus a 
success. 

But from the patronage accorded my present one-ring show I 
am convinced that the future circus is to be a revival of the old- 
time aggregation. 

There is one phase of this revival that will affect the pockets 
of the bright young actors who now act so cleverly in farce- 
comedies. With the revival there will be a demand for clowns 
who have humor and spontaneous wit. 

With the death of Charley White, not long since, the best of 
the old-time clowns passed away, and the clever young farce- 
comedy men will have a new field each summer open to them in 
the revival, for there will be a great demand for clowns to take 
the places of the old-timers who have passed into the great here 
after. 

GEEAT LIGHTS OF THE CIKCUS. ONE DOLLAE 
A MINUTE. 

" The greatest circus clown I ever met was Joe Blackburn, of 
Kentucky. He was in some way related to the late eminent 
Senator from that State, was a man of education, a gentleman, 
and brave as a lion. He was buried in Maysville, Ky., some time 
in 1843. It was for many years a custom among circus men 
whenever they visited Maysville, to take their bands and play a 
dirge at Joe Blackburn s grave." 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 181 

"And the best voltigeur, who?" 

" Mose Lipman, who is yet alive in Cincinnati. He is on record 
as having turned sixty-seven somersaults in succession. Jno. L. 
Aymar, one of four brothers, was another noted vaulter. He 
broke his neck in London, at Astley s, trying to turn a triple 
somersault. 

" The greatest bareback riders I ever knew were Jim Robinson 
and Will Showles. In New York, in a little alley running off the 
Bowery, was born Michael Fitzgerald. He was apprenticed to 
John Gossin, a famous clown. Some time in the year 1846 Mike 
was transferred, for a consideration, to James Robinson, and 
taking his name rendered it doubly distinguished in circus an 
nals. Robinson was certainly a splendid rider, but William 
Showles, whose father and mother are residents of Long Branch, 
is, in my opinion, the greatest bareback rider in the world. Oh, 
yes, Jimmy Robinson is still riding, though he must be over fifty 
years old. 

" The greatest American equestrienne undoubtedly was Kate 
Stokes, former wife of the late John Stetson. The whole family 
were very talented. The father was one of the best riding mas 
ters known. One sister married J. B. Doris, the circus manager. 
A young sister, Bella Stokes, is a charming actress." 

" And the best horse trainer? " 

" S. Q. Stokes, of Kentucky. He it was who imposed e Ella 
Zo}^ara 7 upon the world. Ella s real name was Omar Kingsley. 
He was born in St. Louis, and being quite effeminate in appear 
ance, used to do female acts for Stokes. Omar liked the assump 
tion well, and stuck to it; wore female clothes in the streets; In 
Germany he associated entirely with ladies, some of them per 
sons of social distinction, and was everywhere received and 
treated as one of the softer sex. When the deception was first 
found out in Europe, Stokes narrowly escaped with his life. One 
old Baron, or Barren means the same thing in his case who 
had offered Ella his hand in marriage, was so enraged when 
he discovered the imposture, that he threatened to kill Stokes 
on sight. Stokes didn t seem to scare much, but he returned to 
America quicker, tis said, than he had at first intended doing. 

" Frank H. Rosston has been praised as the best of ring 
masters, and the distinction was deserved. He was a journeyman 
tailor in Philadelphia, and after joining the circus, which he did, 
I think, at my suggestion, developed into the most graceful, ac 
complished, and impressive ringmaster in the business. 

" The highest salary I ever received was one dollar a minute. 
Alvah Man of the National Theatre, in Philadelphia, paid it 
to me." 



182 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 



A MILLIONAIRE SHOWMAN". 

BARIUM WAS BY NO MEANS THE WEALTHIEST CIRCUS MAN 
UNCLE DAN RICE TALKS ENTERTAININGLY ABOUT SETH 
B. HOWES,, WHO HAS ROLLED UP TWENTY MILLIONS AS 
HIS PROFITS FROM THE SAWDUST RING. 

" I regard Seth B. Howes as one of the most famous show 
men the world has ever known. Barnum? Why, Barnum was 
nowhere in comparison. In business ability and enterprise, the 
two things Barnum was most noted for, this man I am telling 

you of was far and away his superior. W r hy, B , well, Barnum 

is dead, so we won t try to belittle him, but my man is alive and 
hearty. Barnum left a couple of millions or so; this man lives 
and enjoys twenty millions or more, and all made out of the show 
business. 

" Seth B. Howes is now retired from business and living very 
quietly at Brewster s, N. Y., where many years ago he built him 
self a substantial country house on the very spot where he was 
born. Where the onion bed was that he used to have to weed 
as a boy, he now has his greenhouse, and grows orchids, I suppose 
one single root of which may be worth more than the whole bed 
of onions of the days gone by. You will see him occasionally 
at the Murray Hill Hotel, a quiet, win 7 -built old gentleman of 
seventy-seven, with white mustache and no stuck-up airs about 
him. In fact, 3^011 would take him for a parson rather than a 
showman. 

" His wife was generally with him, as she has been ever since 
they were married. She is a handsome, queenly Englishwoman, 
very much his junior. I remember them in the sixties when 
they travelled with the show. Although she is a thoroughly 
well-bred woman and wealthy in her own right, in addition to 
the large amount her husband had scraped together, both she 
and the old man went about from town to town with just a little 
handbag apiece. That shows the kind of life partner she is. 

" It was a wonder to everybody that Howes got married at all; 
it was still a greater wonder that he managed to capture a woman 
in herself charming and so well up in the world of London. The 
marriage took place in 1861. Howes was then thirty-six years of 
age and had shown no disposition for women s society whatever, 
or for scarcely any other society, so to speak. He was all business, 
and seemed to think of nothing else. But among bankers and 
business men he had already earned a reputation for ability and 
wealth, and it was in just such society that he met Miss Amy 
Mosely. Her father was a London merchant and she had many 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 183 

suitors. She not only chose him from among them all, but im 
mediately adapted herself to his life. She was born a business 
woman and it was not long before she was running one of her 
husband s two great shows in England. 

" Howes comes from a family of showmen, the leaders of the 
profession in this country. His brother,, Xathan A. Howes, in 
partnership with Aaron Turner, of Danbury, Conn., started a 
circus from Brewster s in 1826. Seth was working on his 
brother s farm at the time, but two years later he joined the 
show. He became a partner in 1831, Richard Sands having 
taken the place of Turner in the firm. They had good success 
for seven years, when the company disbanded. 

" I made my debut under Seth Howes management. That 
was in 1845, at Palmer s Opera House, on Chambers Street. 
Madame McCarte was another of the stars. The partnership 
consisted of Howes and the brothers Edmund and Jeremiah 
Mabie, and it began business in 1810 and continued for eight 
years. I was with the show for two years, yet never knew until 
after that Howes had anything to do with it, so close was he 
about all his business affairs. He was the shrewdest circus man 
who was ever on the road. 

" About this time he saw that Barnum was making quite a 
name, so he joined him. Then he inflated Barnum s head into a 
belief that a show travelling around the country would advertise 
his museum, which, you will remember, was on the corner where 
the St. Paul building now stands. So the i Barnum Exposi 
tion on Wheels was started, and Howes carried it all through 
the country. He was supposed to have agents all over the 
world searching for and importing to the show the most wonder 
ful animals that ever existed. As a matter of fact, he bought all 
the animals in this country; but even Barnum did not know this 
until long after. However, during the five years he ran the show 
he made Barnum money, so that did not signify. 

" During this time he was figuring on a circus of his own in 
New York, and two years before he separated from Barnum, 
which was in 1855, he opened the Franconies Hippodrome, which 
was on the site of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. In 1854 I paid him 
$5,000 for the elephant Lalla Eookh, and went to Boston with 
his partner, Gushing. Lalla Rookh was a wonderful elephant, 
the most wonderful that ever lived. She used to perform on the 
tight-rope. Poor thing; she went bathing in the river in Indi 
ana on a Sunday, took cold and died. 

" Well, after that I sold Mr. Howes my trick nmles for $5,000, 
and he bought them without ever having seen them perform. He 
wa? a man of wonderful enterprise. In March, 1857, Howes 
Cushing s Circus left here for England. No, that was not the 



184 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

first American show that went to Europe. I think the first was in 
1842, owned by Juan Titus and Angevine. That was the first 
to compete with WombwelPs Menagerie, then and for many years 
after an institution without which no English country fair was 
complete. 

" Howes & Cushing s Circus had a great success in England 
from the start. They took over with them seventy-two horses 
and fifty performers and assistants. They travelled through 
England for a year, and then opened at the Alhambra Palace, 
London, where Queen Victoria and the royal family honored 
t 1 em with a visit. That was in 1858. They were at the Palace 
twelve months, and then tented it through England and Ireland 
for four or five years, during which, as 1 told you, Howes man 
aged to pick up his estimable life partner. 

" They brought the circus back to NCAV York in 1864, after 
having made barrels of money. Why, at one time Howes offered 
me $100,000 for my blind horse, the most intelligent animal 
and the most marvellous performer there ever was. Understood 
every word spoken to him. Howes idea was to put him on the 
stage. That was my mistake. That horse ought never to have 
gone into a ring. He was good enough to play all by himself. 

" I joined Howes Circus at Mobile in 1865. In 1845 he paid 
me $50 a week; in 1865 he paid me $1,000. He called the show 
Howes & Cushing s London Circus, and everywhere he went we 
gathered in the dollars rapidly. I suppose the old man was get 
ting to think he had made as much money as he cared for, for in 
1870 he sold the business to James Kelley and Egbert C. Howes, 
and retired. But for all his wealth he was never boastful; on the 
contrary. If you chanced to say to him, Splendid house to 
night! he would slowly reply, Well, yes, it will just about pay 
expenses. He was liberal, though, without being a fool with his 
money." 

JAMES A. BAILEY. 

The subject of the present brief sketch was born in the city 
of Detroit, in 1847, and at the unusually tender age of ten years 
gave unmistakable evidence of the possession of those rare talents 
and energy that later in life so markedly distinguished him above 
all his contemporaries. When at that early age he determined 
upon leaving home and seeking his fortune, he sacrificed a com 
fortable home and surroundings, for, although his parents were 
not what would be called to-day wealthy, they were well-to-do, 
and at the death of his father, in 1853, his mother was left in 
possession of a modest competency. His mother s death occur 
ring, however, shortly after, and upon his brother-in-law being 
appointed his guardian his dislike for the inactive life he was 



. 







JAMES A. BAILEY 



IIEMIXISCEXCEb OF DAN EICE 185 

leading caused him to hurriedly put into practice the ideas he 
had formed o " going it alone " on the road of life. First turn 
ing his thoughts to the country upon leaving home, young 
Bailey sought the country and found employment on a farm at 
the munificent salary of $3 per month, but this existence after a 
few months proved too tame for his youthful aspirations. He 
forsook it and made his way to the city of Pontiac, Mich., and 
secured a position in the leading hotel there as a bell-boy. There 
was one important factor determining this move, that should not 
be overlooked, as it serves to show the pluck and spirit of the 
boy, qualities that afterwards entered so largely into making him 
successful as a man, enabling him to meet and overcome what to 
many others would have proved insurmountable difficulties. 
There was another boy on the farm whose salary was $3.50 per 
month, half a dollar more than young Bailey received, and as the 
latter, although in receipt of less money, was conscientiously per 
forming his duties and earnestly working more than the other 
boy, it naturally engendered a spirit of rebellion against such 
discriminations, and as his employer could not appreciate, or did 
not, the hardest worker, the latter thought he would remedy .the 
matter himself, and did so, by first thrashing the boy, and then 
leaving the farm. 

It can be readily understood that out of his salary he would 
not have a fortune saved up, so, with a light heart, a quick step, 
and fifty cents he sought the hotel in Pontiac, Mich. While en 
gaged in the hotel his general cleverness, sincere attention to 
duty, and alertness attracted the attention of the proprietor as 
well as the guests of the hotel, so it came to pass that when the 
agent of the Robinson & Lake Circus came to Pontiac, he also 
noticed the smartness of the boy, and was so impressed with it 
that he induced young Bailey to go with him. From this period 
dates the career of one who subsequently became what he is to 
day, the leader of showmen, and virtual dictator in that line of 
amusements. His career from this time on was a checkered one, 
rising, however, very rapidly in the estimation of all those with 
whom he became associated. Remaining with the circus until 
18()3, he left it to take the position of advertising agent in a thea 
tre in Nashville, where, besides attending to his regular duties, he 
assisted the manager, and at night acted as usher. This was dur 
ing the war, when salaries were small and living expenses high. 
While here one night, a Mr. Green, holding the position of 
Fnited States sutler, happened in the theatre with a friend, and 
finding the house crowded, with few, if any, seats unoccupied, 
in his desire to obtain good seats applied to Mr. Bailey, who, at 
no little personal trouble, finally secured them. For this cour 
teous service a $5 bill was quietly slipped into his hand by Mr. 



186 HEMIN1SCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Green, but it was instantly returned with thanks "by young 
Bailey, who accompanied the action with the remark, u I am 
amply paid by the house for courteously treating its patrons and 
cannot accept your generosity/ Mr. Green was so struck by 
this conduct that he instigated inquiries concerning so remark 
able a young man, which resulted in his offering him employment 
with him at double the salary he was then receiving. So our 
hero became the trusted clerk of an army sutler, and during his 
engagement was witness of all the battles of the war occurring 
between Chattanooga and Atlanta. At the close of the hostili 
ties, being sent in charge of his employer s goods to Louisville, 
and finishing all the business entrusted to him, he went for 
a few days to Cincinnati, where he accidentally again met 
Mr. Lake, his old circus employer, who exacted a promise 
from him to again enter that line of business. When Mr. Green 
learned of this he felt great regret at having to part with his 
trusted clerk and tried hard to get him to remain with him, but 
as a promise had been given, it was useless, so the following year 
saw young Bailey back again in the show business, where he re 
mained until 1869. The following year Mr. Bailey became in 
terested in the privileges with Hemmings, Cooper & Whitby s 
Show. When the firm of Hemmings & Cooper was changed in 
1871, Mr. Bailey was offered, and accepted, a position with them 
as general agent, remaining such until Mr. J. E. Cooper formed a 
new firm in 1872 with Mr. Bailey as his partner, the new firm 
being known as Cooper & Bailey. We now see Mr. Bailey as a 
proprietor, a proud position and one earned by himself without 
either capital or aid other than the possession of talent, but whose 
qualities and abilities were of such a high order that he was in 
demand everywhere, but it remained for Mr. Cooper to put the 
highest value upon them and to secure him, offering him half in 
terest in the show to remain. It was now his talents were devel 
oped as an advertiser, and he showed the remarkable power 
of his now maturer judgment and riper years, with the venture 
some spirit that so conspicuously distinguishes him even at pres 
ent. He projected and successfully carried out a tour of the 
world with trie Cooper & Bailey Show in 1876-77, visiting the 
Sandwich Islands, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South 
America, with varying financial success, returning to this coun 
try in December, 1878, after that extraordinary trip, just in time 
to purchase the Great London Circus. With this latest addi 
tion the Cooper & Bailey Show became the largest, as it was the 
finest, of all tented shows up to that time, and the birth of a 
baby elephant, the first ever born in captivity in the world, so 
increased the reputation of the show and added to its attractions, 
that Mr. Bailey at once determined upon striking a blow that 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX BICE 187 

would place his show so far beyond all others that there would 
really be but one. How well he planned is best evidenced by 
subsequent events. The late P. T. Barnum was then at the head 
of the business. Mr. Bailey " went for him " in the language of 
the day, and fought him so vigorously, determinedly, and ad 
ministered such hard knocks, that he forced the Barnum show 
to fly, giving up its favorite territory in the East, thus leaving 
that valuable section to the Cooper & Bailey Circus. Next sea 
son (1884), with the shrewdness that characterized Mr. Barnum, 
he sought Mr. Bailey and made him an offer of partnership. As 
he could not compete with the London Circus, Mr. Barnum de 
sired to be associated with it and its manager, and the negotia 
tions resulted in the grand combination known as the Barnum 
and London Shows, of which Mr. Bailey was the sole manager. 
From this time out Mr. Barnum ceased to take any more active 
part in the circus business than to aid with his money the carry 
ing out of the projects emanating in the fertile brain of his young 
partner, and it is a fact, not known to the public, however, that all 
the vast details of the business of whatever kind or description re 
lating to the combined shows were transacted by Mr. Bailey alone, 
just as he does to-day, and it is hoped by all his friends he will 
continue to do so for many years to come. Ever since Mr. 
Bailey assumed a proprietary interest in the circus, it is worthy of 
note, that he has striven with great zeal to elevate the business; 
has sought with dogged pertinacity to eliminate everything of an 
offending character, correcting abuses when any existed, remedy 
ing defects, altering, improving, and finally cleansing and clarify 
ing the whole until the great institution of to-day, known as the 
" Greatest Show on Earth," with its thousand employees, stands 
a monument to the genius and extraordinary ability of one man 
and that one J. A. Bailey an institution of such high and com 
mercial character that its checks are equal to legal-tender notes, 
whose business methods are the best known and whose standing 
and reputation in the business world are second to none, sound 
principles governing all. .It was this grand show Mr. Bailey 
organized and sent to Europe in 1899, and for the past two years 
has amazed the people, the sovereigns, and nobility by its mag 
nitude and magnificence. 

WALLETT. 

Win. Frederick Wallett, the Queen s Jester, was the greatest 
clown England ever produced. Unlike many other professionals, 
he bore his real name, and it is a name such as he had a right to be 
1 roud of. He appeared in almost every land where the English 
language was spoken, and in many places where it is not, and he 
made friends wherever he appeared. He made his first public 



188 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

appearance at Hull, his native town, where he played a sub 
ordinate part at the Theatre Royal. Since then his life has 
been one continued series of professional triumphs. Wallett was 
never a buffoon. He was a jester of the old-time school. His 
contagious fun had been of a pure character which left a healthy 
palate behind. He made his first success professionally in con 
junction with Van Amburgh, and subsequently added to his fame 
and fortune in identifying himself with my American enterprises. 
In the theatre as a pantomimist, and the circus as a jester, he 
conclusively demonstrated that a man may be a clown and yet a 
gentleman a jester and yet a philosopher. Wallett was also an 
author, who has written a most entertaining autobiography. His 
passing away lately has left me pretty much, in the circus world, 
like the last man of the club I call the roll, and none answers 
but myself. 

BLONDIN. 

One of the most daring athletes and original performers of 
the century passed away a few years ago in England at the age of 
seventy-three. Blondin, whose real name was Jean Frangois 
Gravelet, was a native of Xorthern France, and son of a gymnast 
who had served under Napoleon. Forty years ago Americans 
discovered that the king of rope walkers and equilibrists had ar 
rived in this country as one of the attractions of the Ravels. 
Blondin was rather a small man, but of square build; well, but 
not excessively, muscled, and with a look of middle age rather 
than of youth. His feats placed him in a class of his own and he 
never had a real rival. Walking a rope was to him like walking 
a floor, and he seldom used a pole. Empty-handed, he turned 
somersaults backward and forward on the rope, landing on his 
feet, displaying more than the agility of a cat. He walked the 
rope on stilts and went through vaulting evolutions upon it with 
a basket on each foot. 

It did not take the public long to discover that this serious- 
faced Frenchman was a phenomenon, and he was a favorite for 
many successive seasons. He became much attached to America 
and looked around for new opportunities to inspire wonder, 
though he was always able to execute a hundred feats that nobody 
else could touch. In the course of his travels he reached Xiagara 
Falls and saw as much that interested him in the gorge and whirl 
pool as in the waters of the great lakes tumbling over a precipice. 
He had never before run across such a fine set of scenery for an 
equilibrist. The idea of walking above the thundering cataract 
on a bridge of rope never left him. It awoke him in terrified 
dreams and yet fascinated him the more. At the close of 1858 
he resided at the falls for several weeks to study the ground. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 189 

Then he told the world that he proposed to stretch a rope 1,100 
feet long, 170 feet above the torrent, and walk across. He kept 
his word June 30, 1859, in the presence of 50,000 spectators. 
Later, he crossed blindfolded, with a man on his back and made 
sensational rope-walking one of the marvels of the time. 

The feat which tried his nerves the most, according to his own 
statement, was trundling his infant daughter in a wheelbarrow 
over a rope 200 feet long at the Crystal Palace, London, and he 
confessed he would not have undertaken it if his wife had not 
strengthened his confidence by her own. Ordinarily, Blondin had 
no nerves and was proof against a false motion. He was very 
careful in personal habits and never touched even the lightest 
wines. His only beverage was chocolate. Sometimes his at 
tendants blundered, or the rope was disturbed by accident, but 
he had a code for avoiding a fall by hooking a leg on the rope. 
He took a young lion in a wheelbarrow partly across a high rope 
at Liverpool on a Avindy day, and then, finding the brakes de 
ranged, backed to the starting point. Of course he persevered 
until he carried the feat through, for that was one of his charac 
teristics. Blondin said that when he first started up a rope in 
boyhood it seemed as easy to him as walking on a plank. He 
stuck to the rope for over fifty years, made an immense aggregate 
of money, and died with sound bones at a good old age. There 
is no way to explain the man except to say that he was Blondin. 

GRAXT JOimSOX. 

SOME STARTLING REVELATIONS BY THE " CLOWN OF OUR 
DADDIES* COL. DAN RICE ON THE CAUSES WHICH LED 
TO THE IMPEACHMENT OF JOHNSON GRANT THE UNSUS 
PECTING DUPE OF DESIGNING MEN JOHNSON S UNION 
RECORD. 

Col. Dan Rice was an intimate personal friend of Henry Clay, 
Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, and knew General Grant per 
haps as well as he was known by any man. During the days of 
reconstruction he was a United States detective, having been ap 
pointed by President Johnson to protect the interests of the 
Government and the cotton raisers of the South against the dis 
honesty of Government agents. Colonel Rice was in Washing 
ton at the time of Johnson s inauguration, and for some time 
after. 

Recalling the circumstances leading up to the breach between 
President Johnson and those who afterwards sought his impeach 
ment, Colonel Rice says: 



190 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

" A few days after the inauguration of Johnson, while I was at 
the White House in conversation with the President, Col. John 
W. Forney,, of Philadelphia, sent in his card. Colonel Forney 
was well known as an ardent admirer and stanch supporter of 
Johnson, having been intimately associated with him during the 
events attending his accession to the Presidency. I retired to 
an adjoining room occupied by Colonel Moore, the President s 
private secretary, where I heard, distinctly, the conversation 
between Colonel Forney and the President. Forney presented 
to the President a list of post-office and custom-house appoint 
ments for Philadelphia for the President s sanction. Johnson 
said, " John, if there is anything I can do for you personally, 
command me, but as President, I cannot accept your slate." 
Forney left the White House abruptly, and on the following 
morning, his two papers, " The Washington Chronicle " and 
" Philadelphia Press/ familiarly known as " My two papers, 
both daily/ 7 opened on the President in an article headed, " What 
is the matter at the White House? The President closeted with 
a clown." I was very intimate with Colonel Forney, and, meet 
ing him on the street, asked him what was meant by the articles 
in his papers. He replied, " Oh, it s a big card for you, Kice." 
" But," said I, " John, you have made a mistake. The President 
was right." He complained bitterly at his treatment, and re 
marked that he would ruin Jolmson as he had ruined Buchanan. 
This was, undoubtedly, the occurrence which led to the open 
rupture between the President s party and the impeachment fac 
tion. The minds of the people as well as of Government officers 
were filled with suspicions of the times, and suggestions of dis 
loyalty from any quarter found ready credence. Forney did 
everything in his power to ruin Johnson, even going as far as to 
indirectly accuse him, through the columns of his papers, of 
being concerned in the assassination of Lincoln. What was 
Grant s connection with this matter? Grant was one of the most 
unsuspecting men in the world, and his credulity was imposed 
upon by the Capitol clique, led by John W. Forney, Thad Stevens, 
Simon Cameron, and others. I was at that time in Washington 
with a big show bearing my name. I was directing the parade 
from my seat on the band wagon, and after having serenaded the 
heads of the various departments, gave the order " On, to the 
White House!" Grant and Forney were standing together on 
the sidewalk and overheard the order. Both shook their heads, 
and Forney, advancing, advised me not to go, on the ground that 
it would make me unpopular. Grant said nothing, but gravely 
shook his head. Nevertheless, we proceeded, and the band, under 
my direction, played " Hail to the Chief," concluding with 
"Dixie." Forney was mistaken, for the vast crowd which had 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICK 11) 1 

gathered was vociferous in its demonstrations of enthusiasm. It 
was Forney who put the idea into Grant s head that it was John 
son s intention to become " the Cromwell of the hour," and that 
his, Grant s, appointment to Mexico was made in order to re 
move him from the command of the army, where he was a 
continual menace to the President. It was at one time the in 
tention of the President to dissolve Congress in order to put an 
end to the incendiary speeches of that body, which were apt to 
lead to another revolution. It must be remembered that the 
troops of Maryland, Xew York, and Pennsylvania were in readi 
ness to answer to the President s call. " Se ward s counsel," how 
ever, prevailed. He was first in favor of this plan, but later ad 
vised Johnson to wait, thinking that some better solution of the 
difficulty would be developed. But Johnson s speech at the head 
of Pennsylvania Avenue, one night, destroyed all opportunities, 
if any existed, of a compromise between himself and Congress. 
What was the charge that Johnson was in sympathy with the 
South and disloyal to the Union? I knew Johnson from boy 
hood. He was honest, patriotic, self-sacrificing in his loyalty. 
Owing to his Union sentiments, he was compelled, in the fall of 
1850 or the spring of 1SGO, to flee from his home in Greenville, 
Term., leaving his property unprotected and his family in tears. 
He was piloted through the timber to a place of safety by a col 
ored boy by the name of Dick Kennar, an illegitimate son of the 
great Kennar of Louisiana. Dick was at one time snare drummer 
in my band, and afterwards he became a hack driver in New 
Orleans. 

Johnson made his way by a painful and tedious journey to 
Cincinnati, where he arrived in a destitute condition, and made 
his famous speech in front of the Burnett House. From that 
time onward his star was in the ascendant until dimmed by the 
conspirators at the Capitol. The statement of General Butler, as 
published in a subsequent interview, that he had in his possession 
documents of a secret character which could have been intro 
duced at the impeachment trial, and which he refused to make 
public, I regard as an invention of that ingenious politician. 

WHAT S ix A NAME? 

Col. Wm. P. Preston, of Louisville, Ky., was a candidate for 
Congress. He was the descendant of an ancient family of Vir 
ginia. Col. Wm. C. Preston was Dan Rice s circus agent, and 
lived a few miles from the city. At the same time that Wm. P. 
Preston was running for Congress. Wm. C. Preston was adver 
tised to appear in a play at the theatre, the circus season being 
over. 



192 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Col. Wm. P. Preston had a strong advocate in an Irish citizen, 
who controlled the Irish vote. The opposite party were trying 
to capture him and his influence, and laughed at him in the way 
of ridicule of his candidate, by saying that he was nothing but a 
theatre actor. (While Col. Wm. C. Preston was my agent, he was 
also an actor, and when he got through travelling with the circus 
he made a contract for a week or two to play Mazeppa, his favor 
ite play.) The Irishman indignantly denied it. They took him 
out and showed him the lithographs representing Mazeppa on a 
horse being chased by mountain wolves. The Irishman saw the 
name, and said, " Be jabbers, I ll go to the theayter, and if it is 
so, the divil a vote will he get from me frinds." The night ar 
rived, the Irishman was present, and was so carried away with 
the excellence of Col. Wm. C. Preston, thinking he was the 
politician, that he got up on the stage when they were called out 
and, taking him by the hand, said, " Oi ll vote, and all me f rinds 
will vote for you. Ye re a damned soight betther actor than ye 
are a lawyer." 

The incident created great applause and excitement. 

Wm. P. Preston was a general in the late war. An incident of 
an interesting character occurred in connection with the distin 
guished general, living in Lexington, Ky., in 1885. Dan Rice 
lectured at the Opera House in Lexington when he was on his 
sixteen months lecture tour, and he noticed present General 
Preston. He told the above story to the delight of the vast audi 
ence. It created great laughter and applause. The general was 
one of the interesting and honored citizens of the Blue Grass 
State. He waited with his friends for Dan Rice, and escorted 
him to his palatial home and entertained him most royally that 
evening. Preston was an " old-time " W T hig. It was this demo 
cratic vote that elected him. 

A SINGULAR COINCIDENCE. 

In the winter of 1889 Colonel Rice was being entertained by 
the late Col. John A. Cockerill, Judge Duffy, and Gen. James 
R. O Beirne, when one evening a gentleman approached the 
Colonel as they sat in Room No. 1 at the Astor House, and asked, 
"Is this Dan Rice?" Colonel Rice arose, and, extending his 
hand, replied, " Yes, sir; but you have the best of me." The 
gentleman remarked., " Well, you got the best of me about thirty 
years ago when you came into my law office at Cincinnati and 
wanted my advice about bringing a suit against Nick Longworth, 
one of our wealthy citizens, for $80,000. I gave you the advice 
and you went off and settled with the gentleman for $60,000, and 
never came near your lawyer again," 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN HICE 193 

It eventually turned out to be T. C. Campbell, of Cincinnati, 
now a citizen of Harlem, a leading politician, and a successful 
aw} T er, who as he concluded his remarks hurried away, but not 
before Colonel Rice had called out to him that the check he re 
ceived for the $60,000 went to protest and was now part of the 
assets of other days. As he has not, up to this date, sought to 
enforce his claim, the distinguished lawyer is doubtless gen 
erously availing himself of the statutes of limitation to the ad 
vantage of Colonel Rice. An hour or so later as Colonel Rice was 
standing at the entrance to the Astor House, Bartley Campbell, 
the great dramatist, accosted him, and after a few brief and pain 
fully disconnected inquiries as to Mr. Rice s financial affairs, 
drew a check-book from his pocket, and after affixing his signa 
ture to a draft, he handed it to the Colonel, remarking as he 
hurried away, " Write in the amount you need and it will be 
all right." A few days later again meeting Colonel Cockerill, 
Colonel Rice, in speaking of the strange coincidence of meeting 
the two Campbells, he was shocked to learn that that very morn 
ing the great-souled Campbell had become forever mentally un 
balanced. 

To HON. Ex-U. S. SENATOR RUFUS BLODGETT. 

Xot to describe men as they are is not to describe them at all, 
and if they should exhibit some few venial imperfections, which 
is the lot of men, like flaws or specks on a diamond, they are lost 
in its general brilliancy and lustre, as viewed from the standpoint 
of this writer. He has one quality, however, said to be the usual 
concomitant of greatness, and which, no doubt, springs from the 
strict purity of his motives, and the sincerity of his opinions, and 
that is obstinacy, or, as it is called in more courtly language, firm 
ness. He generally adheres to his opinions certainly from no 
selfishness or want of magnanimity, but because he firmly be 
lieves those opinions to be right, although I positively assert 
" it is much more magnanimous to retreat than to persist in 
error," let us say what we may. A proper tenacity of opinion is 
assuredly preferable to a vibratory, vacillating presiding officer 
over an intelligent, deliberative body such as our Long Branch 
Commissioners are presumed to be, who changes his mind as 
freely and frequently as his apparel, and with much less regard 
for appearance. It has been said that " obstinacy and firmness 
spring from the same root; it is obstinacy when the course is bad, 
firmness when it is good," and with this understanding in its 
application to our Honorable Mayor let us call it firmness. It 
matters not to what post he has been called to the State Legis 
lature, the United States Senate, the Superintendent of the New 
Jersey Central Railroad, or Mayor of Long Branch, in all he has 
13 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

proved equal to it, and never one jot above it. He did not grad 
uate from Princeton, but has good sense abundant. He never 
amazes with his wisdom, nor shocks you by his folly, the just 
medium is his highest and safest distinction. He engages the 
confidence of all without ever having justly forfeited the kind 
regards of any. 

ZACH CHANDLER. 

During a political campaign I was journeying from Cincinnati 
to Chicago on a midnight train. Sleep was out of the question. 
I had taken an inside seat and, as is usually the case with most 
travellers, began my railway journey by looking out of the win 
dow in an abstracted sort of way and thinking of nothing in par 
ticular, when I suddenly was made aware of the presence of a 
fellow-traveller by a gruff voice asking if the adjoining seat was 
preempted. Looking up, before removing a valise which rested 
there, I recognized and cheerily greeted my old friend, Zach 
Chandler. He received my cordial hand-grasp in a perfunctory 
way. I noticed he seemed wretchedly wasted. He certainly was 
so mentally jaded that, despite my best efforts to arouse him 
with amusing yarns, he scarcely smiled. Remarking that he was 
evidently worn out and needed rest, the grizzly political war-horse 
shook his mane and, placing his arm across the back of the car 
seat, half grunted with a cynical smile, " Rest, Rice, rest. Where 
in h 11 am I to get it here? What kind of rest like that rock 
over there, 7 pointing to a big boulder abutting the tracks of the 
flying train. "See here, Rice, can you harvest without ploughing; 
reap without sowing? " After a lapse of several minutes he con 
tinued: " I am tired, but there is no let-up. It s a case of keep 
moving with me, or the curtain falls. I am pretty much like a 
horse my father once had; he was a thoroughbred, but age was 
creeping on. For nearly eleven months he could not be induced 
to lie down in his stall; he knew if he did he would never get 
up. One winter morning I went to the barn to feed him. He 
was dead he died on his feet." 

Twenty-two hours later I accompanied Mr. Chandler to Mc- 
Cormick s Hall, Chicago, where he was scheduled for a campaign 
speech. Wlien he concluded I alone escorted him to the Grand 
Pacific Hotel. After a light supper and a cigar he retired to 
rest. If he slept he never woke again; death came to him; he 
was found lifeless in the morning. 

Meeting General Grant on his return from his trip around the 
world, at the St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, I had a long con 
fidential talk with him, during which he asked what I thought 
of the third term scheme. I replied, " General, under no cir- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 195 

cumstances do you allow your good name to be presented before 
the National Republican Convention, for you will not only be 
defeated but it will dim the lustre of your military greatness and 
be a target for your political enemies to direct their shafts of 
venom. They will dissect the defects of your two administra 
tions, such as the whiskey ring at St. Louis, where General Mc 
Donald and Colonel Wm. McKee, and others were locked up at 
the Four Courts. Although you pardoned them out, still it 
doesn t change the complexion of the rascality and scandal 
of your two administrations. Those political comets will 
move heaven and earth to blast your character and prejudice 
the people/ 

HOUSTON AND CAMERON. 

In Washington, during his last term in Congress, I was intro 
duced to Gen. Sam Houston, by Henry Clay, of Kentucky. I 
also, on that occasion., met Capt. Forbes Britton, of Corpus 
Christi, a gallant Texas Ranger. He and General Houston and 
I were walking on Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol, when 
we met Hon. Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania, with whom I 
was also intimately acquainted. We shook hands, and Captain 
Britton was introduced. General Cameron jocularly remarked to 
General Houston, " You must be a Connecticut man." " Why? " 
asked the General. " Because I see you not only on the floors 
of Congress but on this great thoroughfare whittling a stick." 
" Friend Cameron," said Houston, " I am always laboring to be 
useful. This is a very small piece of pine timber, you see; it 
comes from Pennsylvania, your own State. If I could only whit 
tle a ton of it a day I would do so if it would only keep a good 
many of your rabid constituents sawing wood and saying noth 
ing about my people and their private affairs you Yanks want 
to know too much." Cameron, who was plainly ruffled, radi 
ated one of his graveyard grins and sauntered silently away. 

HOBART. 

It was during the summer of 1899, made memorable in Long 
Branch by the presence of Vice-President Hobart, who lived at 
Norwood Park in comparative retirement on account of failing 
health, that Colonel Rice was a frequent visitor at Xormanhurst 
by special invitation and otherwise. Formalities were dispensed 
with by Mr. Hobarfs request, and the Colonel made his visits 
whenever he felt disposed to do so. Those informal visits were 
a source of mutual interest to both gentlemen, whose past ac 
quaintance with Washington life embraced all the shades of so 
ciety, both civil and political, with this exception Colonel Rice s 



196 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

broader experience with the " old school " politicians of earlier 
days. To be in the Colonel s presence was a fitting excuse for 
Mr. Hobart to throw off the dignity of his official requirements 
and be himself with a congenial spirit; so, on one occasion, he 
invited Colonel Rice to devote an afternoon to an outing with 
him, which appointment was religiously kept by the Colonel. 
The day in question was in August. The Colonel drove over to 
see the Vice-President and his horse was put in the Hobart 
stables, and together these two genial spirits in the Hobart car 
riage spent a few hours; one to forget the responsibility of public 
life and of the arduous toils of office, the one to neutralize the 
regrets of the memories of other days, the other the burdens of 
a professional one. 

Colonel Rice played the part of chaperon on this occasion, and 
so faithfully did he meet the requirements that no one ever sus 
pected that Vice-President Hobart was the debutant on that 
day s outing. They visited several of the suburban towns, going 
over the beautiful drives that make Long Branch famous. Mr. 
Hobart was particularly communicative to Colonel Rice about 
his successes in life, his ambitions, failures, etc., and to quote him 
from Colonel Rice s notes, " I am weary of it all, Colonel, and 
my failing health makes it doubly so. Although I am a young 
manj this affliction is a source of constant torture to me, for I 
feel that I have only a short time to stay here, and yet should 
stay longer, as my real work in life is but half completed. It 
tested the Colonel s strength of will to divert Mr. Hobart s mind 
from himself; but with that delightful tact which characterized 
him in the forum and in the arena, he gradually brought his 
humor into play until Mr. Hobart again saw the sunny side of life 
with the famous old clown as his entertainer. They each in turn 
rehearsed past reminiscences which were, no doubt, a trifle ex- 
panded by a limited quantity of champagne, which was indulged 
in merely for mutual good-fellowship s sake. Mr. Hobart ex 
pressed himself as not satisfied with the place of his birth. " Lack 
of energy is so marked among the native born," he said, " and all 
enterprise is due to the stranger who has made it his adopted 
home." 

"What is the cause of it all, Colonel?" he asked. "I have 
but one answer, Mr. Hobart," the Colonel replied, " it is said that 
from time immemorial Long Branch has been the name of a 
watering-place, for the Indians used it as such. I think, in all 
probability, they left their spirits in the air." 

Mr. Hobart suddenly bursting into a hearty laugh, replied, 
" Spirits in the air; quite good, Colonel, very good. Too much 
fire-water you know, Colonel, made the red man a poor business 
man; perhaps the weapon our Christian people in the past used 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 197 

(with powder and shot as an incidental aid) to exterminate the 
Indian is an irony on each other in this beautiful place of my 
birth. I have observed two things to-day/ continued the Vice- 
President, " which suggest the meaning of my remark. I was 
startled to see so many saloons in Long Branch apparently pros 
pering, and in the immediate outskirts such monotonously nu 
merous repetitions of houses and farms placarded with the 
startling legends To Let or e For Sale. It is apparent to me 
that it is a pathetic case of cause and effect. Spirits in the air, 
Colonel, surely not Indian spirits." 

Observing boys playing a game of ball in a near-by field as they 
rode by the Vice-President suddenly exclaimed, " I wish I was 
there playing shortstop, I do believe I was the most conceited 
shortstop that ever lived in the world of amateur baseball; I 
never let anything pass me, never lost an opportunity that came 
my way." The Colonel, taking advantage of a moment s pause, 
ventured to add, " And so it was through all your life, Mr. 
Hobart, you were always on the alert, wide-awake to take advan 
tage of every opportunity that came your way to honorable ad 
vancement. In truth, you never stopped short until you reached 
the Vice- Presidency." 

" Speaking of my boyhood days," continued the Vice-Presi 
dent, " suggests a humorous swaddling story. Since I re 
turned to Long Branch as a summer resident I have been re 
peatedly accosted by scores of old school-fellows, who, with par 
donable, if mistaken, pride greet me as an old class chum. Well, 
honestly, Colonel, it was cruel to disabuse their well-meant im 
pressions because, although I was born on what is now Broadway 
in Long Branch, and although my father was the village school 
master opposite where Gus Byard s farm is to-day, I was five years 
old when father gave up his charge and migrated to other parts. 
I did not directly disabuse the minds of these gentlemen but 
good-naturedly suggested ma} r be I went to the same school, but, 
alas, in my mother s arms." 

THOMAS MCKENNA, LONG BRANCH COMMISSIONER. 

A public man of courage and capacity, as just in unmasking 
the guilty as he was zealous in defending the right; a man in 
capable of giving currency to statements having no foundation 
in fact. 

Bourbonic, perhaps, in presenting his method, yet fearlessly 
honest in uttering his opinions. Without prejudice or venom, 
he is naturally devoid of an honest enemy. 

The influence wielded by such a man cannot be of a mushroom 
growth; its full force can grow but slowly, and improve, like 
wine, with age. 



198 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Here in all he is a man for conscientious men to cozen to, and 
one from whom political rogues must shrink. 

His last defeat as a Commissioner will yet prove to be the 
stepping stone to his greatest triumphs. 

COMMODORE VANDERBILT AND DAN RICE. 

The humble origin of the head of the millionaire family is well 
known. When a very young man, he sold clams in the streets 
of New York from a cart and this was the burden of his cry: 

" Here are fine clams, fine clams to-day, 
Lately come from Rockaway. 
Oh, my cart is broke, my horse is blind, 
Pray little boys keep off behind." 

Dan was one of the little boys thus appealed to, and in after 
life, when Vanderbilt became a millionaire and Dan had become 
famous, the former was a great admirer of the aspiring young 
jester, and upon several occasions volunteered friendly advice 
interlarded with anecdote and incident pertaining to himself. 

His youngest daughter was his especial favorite when a child, 
and she was almost his constant companion. Upon one of his 
visits to Saratoga, accompanied by his little girl and while walk 
ing upon one of the principal promenades, he espied an old 
huckster woman upon the opposite side of the way attending a 
fruit stand, whom he had known well in his youth while strug 
gling with poverty and fighting the battle of life, and cross 
ing over he shook her by the hand, greeted her cordially and, 
seating himself upon a stool, commenced a familiar chat. In the 
meantime his little girl, whom he had left standing upon the 
opposite side, was accosted by some of her bon-ton acquaintances, 
who expressed surprise at the open familiarity of her father with 
the poor vender of fruit. Miss, herself, was mortified, and cross 
ing to his side she pulled his sleeve and whispered, " Papa, do 
pray come away, everybody is wondering at your sitting here." 

" My little darling," said the commodore, " shake hands with 
this old lady, she is an honest wife and noble mother. Pay no 
attention to what remarks are made by frivolous fools, for this 
lady is an honest, virtuous woman, commodities scarce in the 
market. And remember, darling, that poverty is no disgrace, for 
when I married your mother she was a washerwoman." 

This revelation made such an impression upon the mind of the 
child that it affected the current of her after life, which, up to 
the present period has been one of charity and benevolence, ren 
dering her name among those with whom she has come in con 
tact a cherished memory. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 199 



DAN RICE ON JAY GOULD. 

The great railroad manipulator was born in the County of 
Delaware, State of New York, and while a child he exemplified 
the adage that " the boy is father to the man." The ruling 
principle was illustrated by an incident that occurred in his 
native town. 

Some dainty pies in a confectioner s shop attracted his atten 
tion, but the price didn t suit him; they were twopence each. 
While the attention of the female attendant was attracted to a 
customer, Jay thrust his finger into one and broke the crust, and 
upon her return he pointed to it, remarking that it was so dam 
aged that she ought to let him have it for half price, and he got 
the pie upon his own terms. 

He has pursued the same course in his dealings with railroads, 
first depreciating and demoralizing the stock and then buying 
it up at half price. As Shakespeare says: 

" The devil speed him; 

No man s pie is i freed from his ambitious fingers." 

RECIPROCAL GRATITUDE. 

In the early fifties, while fighting his enemies, Colonel Rice 
often found himself placed in positions that required financial 
assistance, and it rarely, if ever, occurred that his requests in 
that direction were not recognized. His reliability was unques 
tioned, therefore he could command any amuont without even 
so much as the scratch of a pen. It was on one of these occa 
sions that Colonel Rice called on Daniel Van Wonder to go on his 
bond for five thousand dollars to carry on his professional battle, 
and this man, who followed the vocation of a butcher in Cin 
cinnati, came promptly to his aid, and willingly furnished the 
amount with only a verbal understanding between them. The 
money, with interest, was returned to Van Wonder at the ex 
piration of the time agreed upon. As time advanced he met with 
reverses, and Colonel Rice was prosperous, and in the spring of 
1856, while the Colonel was in Cincinnati, Van Wonder applied 
for a loan of five thousand dollars, with which to buy cattle and 
save himself from bankruptcy. Colonel Rice gratefully remem 
bered the favor which Van Wonder had previously bestowed in 
his behalf, and he willingly gave the sum to his embarrassed 
friend under the same conditions of a verbal contract. In four 
years the indebtedness was cancelled without a word having been 
spoken by Colonel Rice on the subject. Mrs. Hereford, a daugh- 



200 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

ter of Van Wonder, lived also in Cincinnati, and subsequently 
told the Colonel that her father had instructed his children to 
" always be a friend to Dan Rice." An opportunity was offered 
some years later to demonstrate the fact that the father s instruc 
tions were not forgotten. Several of the Van Wonders located 
in St. Louis, and in 1875, Colonel Eice, being in that city, was 
hunting around for a loan of ten thousand dollars to replevin 
some horses that were owned by the firm of Glidden & Manifee. 
They had been trained by Bartholomew in Denver, Col., and were 
superb creatures adapted to any performance in the ring. In 
quiring of the livery keeper if he knew where any of the Van 
Wonders lived, he received for reply, there is one of them now 
lying asleep on the couch in the office. It proved to be James 
Van Wonder, a son of the Colonel s old friend, who lived in St. 
Paul, and was, at present, visiting his brother in St. Louis. After 
renewing his acquaintance with Colonel Eice whom he had not 
met for years, the Colonel made known his wishes in regard to the 
bond, and Van Wonder readily assented to signing the document. 
" But you live in Minnesota," said Colonel Eice. " Well," he 
said, " I can easily fix that all right by telegraph." " But," said 
the Colonel, " the case is not in St. Louis, it is in Edwardsville, 
111." Van Wonder replied, " as I own a large tract of land in St. 
Clair County, I am a freeholder. If it takes the whole claim I 
will sacrifice it. That was the instruction of my father, to al 
ways be a friend to Dan Eice." The result was that Van Wonder 
telegraphed to the county clerk; the lawyers were satisfied, the 
sheriff accepted the replevin bond, and the horses were released 
and shipped to Cincinnati. 



DAN EICE AND GEORGE D. PRENTICE. 

On Tuesday evening George D. Prentice visited the National 
Theatre and was the recipient of a marked compliment from the 
celebrated humorist, who, after adverting upon the calamities of 
the country, and the disasters which had befallen the Union 
cause through political " prestidigitators," expressed his pride 
and satisfaction at the attendance of our great, accomplished, 
patriotic, and devoted member of the press. " That man," said 
he, pointing to the gentleman who occupied a conspicuous posi 
tion in the boxes, " is George D. Prentice, of Louisville." 

The effect was electric; the audience rose en masse, and three 
cheers were given for the talented journalist, followed by three 
more for Dan Eice. Mr. Prentice bowed an acknowledgment, 
and appeared deeply impressed with the compliment, which was 
indeed an impromptu demonstration. " Enquirer," May, 1861. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 201 



A DISHONORABLE FLAG. 

While the circus was exhibiting in Troy, N. Y., Mr. Rice made 
one of his characteristic speeches with a point to it. Said he: 

" I am a son of New York, but I cannot admire the city fathers. 
They are, in social life, pretty good fellows, but in public, they 
are a sort of human cormorant. They also possess capacious 
pockets, all of which must be filled. 

" Some persons have been rude and ungenerous enough to ac 
cuse them of stealing, but this must be an error. A part of their 
public business is to make appropriations. Some of these they 
make, but never pass; they carry them with them. Hence arises 
the charge of peculation. If a man is desirous of losing his 
character, he has only to become an alderman. I once heard a 
mother say to her offspring who had been detected in some little 
pilfering, e If you go on this way you will either be sent to prison 
or be made an alderman/ Our city fathers are generally fond 
of celebrations, they like to see the Stars and Stripes floating in 
the breeze. But there was one Flagg they could never raise 
Azariah C. They tried to put him out because he would not pay 
out some of the city s bills, but he turned the tables on them and 
let the creditors put ouf the auctioneer s flag instead. i There 
was a sell all around/ The gist of the last joke was that A. C. 
Flagg was the Mayor of Troy, and during his term of office he 
at one time approached a certain alderman of that city as follows: 
Said he, " A lady called upon one of the members of the Board 
to ask his contribution for an Institution for Foundlings. The 
alderman was known to be somewhat promiscuous in his amours 
and he was equally noted for his parsimony. Madame/ said 
he, I have already contributed largely to similar institutions/ 

" I have no doubt of it/ she replied, but please contribute, 
in this instance, in money/ 

DAN RICE. 

A name familiar in almost every household in America. 

Not long since the " Enquirer " published a reminiscence in 
the life of the old showman which was read by Mr. George A. 
Emmitt of this city, and it recalled to his mind the time when 
Mr. Rice came to Waverly with what was then considered his 
mammoth circus and menagerie and exhibited his wonders in the 
lot now occupied by the court house. 

This property was owned by Hon. James Emmitt, and the 
conditions on which Mr. Rice secured the privilege of pitching 
his acres of tents there were that he should have the ground lev 
elled off, the fence repaired, and all other damages occasioned 



202 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

during his stay were to be remedied before he left town. To 
this Mr. Rice willingly agreed., but owing to the rush of business 
and the late hour of getting together his long train of wagons 
preparatory to starting to the next town, the grounds were about 
to be left in their untidy state,, when the constable arrested him 
for breach of contract. 

The humorous circus manager mounted a store box,, and., in less 
that half an hour, he had the whole populace convulsed with 
laughter by his comical pleading of his own case. Mr. Emmitt 
was lenient and, instead of pushing the prosecution, insisted on 
entertaining Mr. Rice at his elegant home and the grounds were 
afterward put in order at the latter s expense. 

DAN RICE S AUNT S OPINION or A GAME OF CHESS. 

Bice Do you play chess, Mr. X? 

M r. N. Oh, yes, sir, whenever my professional duties will per 
mit; I am very fond of it, sir. 

Rice It s a noble game, and how beautifully our young Amer 
ican champion has beaten the proficients of the Old World; not 
one of them could cope with the splendid Morphy. The veterans 
in the chess circles have met him and been defeated. One only 
declined to meet him. His excuse was transparent. He says, 
" I might under other circumstances; and I might at some future 
time; and my occupation might form an excuse." He is some 
thing like an old Staunton cheese full of mites! 

Mr. N. Harwitz and Anderssen acted more nobly. 

Rice Did they not. They had been accustomed to defeat all 
with who they came in contact; they were gentlemen, and showed 
that even when their skill failed before the chess-giant of the 
West, they could be gentlemen still. It s a splendid game. I 
have an old aunt, however, who rather inclines to regard it as a 
sort of social trap. She is somewhat antiquated, and we seldom 
quarrel with her notions. She will sit bolt-upright in her high- 
backed chair one of the ten thousand brought over in the May 
flower with the Pilgrim fathers with her hands crossed upon 
her lap, her spectacles elevated to her forehead, and her cap frill 
bobbing with every motion of her head. She says: 

" Chess! Yes, "it s all very well to play chess, but it ginerally 
ends in airnest. A gal gits her feller right afore her, and com 
mences her movements. The fust on it is them pawns. I know 
how they used to redeem pawns when I was a gal. Then the 
knights goes galivantin round the queens in their castles. So 
she advances and backs out, and he keeps a-follering up, an they 
get the bishop into the scrape, an it all ends in their mating. 
It s a dangerous percedin , an very much practised by the gals." 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 203 



DAN RICE S STORY. 

Col. Dan Rice places his history in Pittsburg, and the date 
early in 1850. He says at that time there was a livery-stable 
keeper by the name of " Billy " Patterson and his place of busi 
ness on Penn Avenue near Fifth Street. Patterson had in his 
employ a rather green Irishman, whose name was Terrence Leary, 
and who loved Patterson better than life. In fact, during the 
long winter nights, when Patterson s friends would congregate 
around the stove in the stable office, Terrence would declare that 
he would murder the man who would dare lay a hand on Patter 
son. The friends thereupon chided Terrence, but the doughty 
Irishman would take it all in good humor, but still stuck to his 
declaration. 

Finally, Patterson s friends decided to put Terrence to a test, 
and got Patterson himself in the secret. They chose a time when 
Terrence was near-by in the stableyard, and then Patterson set 
up an awful yell. 

"Murder! Help! Terrence, they re killing me," he cried, 
and Terrence, hearing the shrieks of agony, stopped his work and 
rushed for the office. 

" Who hit Billy Patterson? " 

Terrence did not wait to open the door, but in his mad rush to 
come to his friend s assistance, crashed straight through it and 
bolted into the office. Furniture was overthrown, and in a corner 
lay Patterson. 

"Who hit Billy Patterson?" demanded Terrence, his eyes 
flashing fire, and seizing one of Patterson s friends who happened 
to be near the prostrate man, threw him bodily through the win 
dow. The other jokers fled precipitately, and, in a second, Ter 
rence and Patterson were left alone. Terrence was soon told of 
the joke, but it soon got noised abroad. Colonel Rice got hold 
of it and was soon telling it from the ring of his " one-hoss " 
show, and in the meantime every one was asking, " Who hit 
Billy Patterson?" 

TIM DONAHUE S PHILOSOPHY. 

Capt. Forbes Britton, of Corpus Christi, a gallant Texan 
ranger, was not only a heroic soldier, a prince of raconteurs, but 
one of the best of dancers. He was peculiarly fastidious in all 
his ways, either business or social. In his attire he was a perfect 
Chesterfield, and the only man who became noted for the atten 
tion devoted to his toilet on the eve of battle. I fail to discover, 
in reading the history of our great warriors, one who ever made 
a point of wearing a ruffled shirt in battle. One of the best 



REMINISCENCES OV L>AN 1UCE 

stories I ever heard him tell was when he had his company in 
the Mexican War, under General Taylor. On a certain occasion 
there was a station not far from Victoria. Here the General 
issued an order that he would review the troops on a certain 
morning. He had often heard of the gallantry of Captain Brit- 
ton s company, and one Timothy Donohue, who evidently was an 
Irish gentleman of culture, but who became demoralized in New 
Orleans. Recruiting officers in that city got him to enlist to go 
to Texas, where he joined Captain Britton s company. On the 
occasion alluded to the roll was called and all answered but Tim 
othy Donahue. Captain Britton suspected the cause, as Tim 
would sometimes imbibe too freely when off duty. An orderly 
was dispatched to the camp, when Tim was soon seen coming, 
staggering, Avith musket on his shoulder. He fell in line and the 
Captain addressed him in very stern tones: " Timothy Donahue, 
you are drunk on duty. I had hoped, on this occasion, to have 
General Taylor make some recognition of your many gallant 
deeds by shaking hands with you, but here you are drunk on 
duty." He answered, "Hist, Captain! Not another word. I 
have only to ask how do you expect all the virtues in a man for 
thirteen dollars a month? " 

BEN THORNBURG S FAME. 

At the age of ninety-seven Ben Thornburg has died in the 
Washington County Poor House. Although having rounded 
out a century with the exception of three years, the man s only 
claim to fame is that many years ago he whipped Dan Eice, the 
showman. It was not a great feat. It brought him local celeb 
rity, but nothing like so much as Napoleon won by being de 
feated instead of victorious at Waterloo. Yet Napoleon and 
Thornburg died in quite similar predicaments. 

However, licking Dan Rice is not necessary to make all the 
reputation for a man that he needs. Fame is nothing more than 
a place in history and in the mouths of the people who talk. It 
satisfies vanity, but only occasionally brings bread. Hundreds 
of young Americans who are comfortably started in life s battle 
and making business move successfully, would not trade their 
satisfying incomes for Shakespeare s world-wide fame. Fame, 
after all, comes only with the accomplishment of something un 
common. If all were to be famous, fame would be common 
place. Ben Thornburg grew famous through his trouncing of 
Dan Rice, and maybe he never did anything else m his life but 
what was more to his credit. Millions of men are pegging away 
day after day doing meritorious things, looking after their house 
holds, and living exemplary lives. They make no name for 



REMIX ISCEXCES OF DAX RICE 205 

themselves,, because they are not whipping circus clowns, leading 
armies, wearing their hair long and playing football, making big 
winnings in pool rooms, etc. But they serve just as good a pur 
pose in the world, and that is all that is required. Ben Thorn- 
burg s peculiar fame is just as good as anybody s. 

MRS. EVAXS. 

The Evans family, of Pittsburg, was a noted one in those days, 
and many of them were inventors, and it was Mr. Rice s personal 
friend, George Evans, a nephew of Mr. Cadwallader Evans, who 
invented the adjustable fire-ladder, and draws a royalty on it at 
the present day. Miss Sarah, a daughter of Mr. Cadwallader 
Evans, was considered one of the most beautiful women in Pitts- 
burg indeed, the whole of the Evans family were distinguished 
for their physical and intellectual charms. Miss Evans married 
her cousin Oliver, who bore the same family name, and as she 
still continued her residence in Pittsburg after her marriage, 
she manifested the same interest in Mr. Rice s welfare that ex 
isted in her girlhood days. A short time previous to her hus 
band s early death, not enjoying very rugged health, she decided 
to go and spend an indefinite time for recuperation at Ravenna, 
0., a resort not far from Pittsburg, and Mr. Rice was selected 
by her mother to accompany Mrs. Evans, who was to travel by 
carriage. Upon her arrival at the hotel the proprietor, Mr. Mc- 
Kibben, who was also a friend of the family and had been advised 
of her coming, paid every attention and furnished every comfort 
that the lady could desire. On account of her personal charms 
she attracted as much attention at Ravenna as she did at her 
home in Pittsburg, and a few days after her arrival, as she sat 
on the porch of the Ravenna Hotel one afternoon, Mr. Rice being 
still in attendance on her there, a handsome Kentuckian of dash 
ing presence and captivating address drove up in a magnificent 
equipage. Xo sooner had he alighted than his eyes fell upon 
the attractive Mrs. Evans as she sat apart from the other guests, 
and the gentleman at once betrayed an interest that was readily 
interpreted by the observers as a clear case of " love at first sight." 
In vain he entreated Mr. McKibben, the host, to present him. 
The answer was always that Mrs. Evans was not a woman to 
tolerate any breach of etiquette committed by a stranger, but the 
newcomer, who was no less a personage than Ten Broeck, the 
well-known horseman, persevered, and finally recognizing Mr. 
Rice as the successful race-rider of previous years, renewed his 
acquaintance, and persuaded that young man to deliver a note to 
Mrs. Evans begging the honor of an introduction. 

Mrs. Evans tore the note into fragments, declaring there was 



20G REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

no reply necessary, and her indignation at the fact of Mr. Rice 
being used as the instrument of such an undertaking, together 
with the offensive perseverance of Mr. Ten Broeck, was sufficient 
cause for her to shorten her stay at Ravenna. She was relentless, 
and when Mr. Rice drove her back to Pittsburg, a few days after 
ward, Ten Broeck was unknown to her save by reputation. On 
examining the carriage the next morning after their return, Mr. 
Rice found a magnificent solitaire diamond ring in a corner under 
the carpet. Soon afterward a maid came from the Evans man 
sion to inquire if the jewel had been found, as Mrs. Evans had 
missed it on her return. Mr. Rice said nothing, but put the ring 
into his pocket and went to the Evans house. With all the 
freedom of his impulsive good nature he asked Mrs. Evans, with 
a roguish smile, " What will you give to get the ring back?" 
" One hundred dollars," she cried; " it cost sixteen hundred." 
Mr. Rice said nothing, but left the house, leaving Mrs. Evans in 
a state of uncertainty. After he thought he had caused her suffi 
cient anxiety, he finally called and restored to her the solitaire, 
refusing, of course, to take any reward, and telling her that he 
had only punished her a little for her cruelty to handsome Mr. 
Ten Broeck. But Mr. Ten Broeck s case was hopeless, though 
he was afterward presented to Mrs. Evans in Pittsburg through 
the courtesy of Mr. McKibben. Mrs. Evans was early left a 
widow, and some time after her husband s death she visited Phila 
delphia, where she stayed at the Merchants Hotel, which was 
kept by McKibben, who had previously entertained Mrs. Evans at 
Ravenna. It was during her sojourn in Philadelphia that she 
married McKibben, and thus ended a romance that had in it the 
sentiment of the olden time. 

JEAN LAFITTE JOHNSON. 

This sketch of the life of Johnson will compare in romantic 
interest with the ideal heroes of most works of fiction. His 
grandfather was the famous Jean Lafitte, the celebrated bucca 
neer of Barataria, who was born in France, either at St. Malo or 
Marseilles in 1780. There is uncertainty about his early career, 
and accounts vary, but the most authentic describes him as a lieu 
tenant of a French privateer, which was captured by a British 
man-of-war and taken into an English port, where, with the 
officers and crew of the vessel, he was thrown into prison and 
confined for several years under circumstances of peculiar hard 
ship, which were the more galling, as, long before, all his com 
rades had obtained their release. His resentment thereat and 
hatred of England in consequence, inspired, it is said, his subse 
quent career, and the important service he did the United States 
during the British expedition to New Orleans. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 207 

Upon his liberation, in consequence of peace being proclaimed 
between France and Great Britain, he obtained a privateer s com 
mission for the Carthagenian government, then at war with 
Spain, under cover of which he is said to have carried out his 
revenge by the capture of several English merchant ships, as 
well as those of Spain, and it was this which first caused him to 
be proclaimed a pirate, although there is no authentic record 
of his having plundered the vessels of any other nationality. Sub 
sequently he settled in New Orleans in 1807, where, it is said, he 
worked at the trade of a blacksmith, his forge being located at the 
corner of Bourbon and St. Phillip Streets. The war between 
France and Spain caused him and his brother Pierre, who was 
also a seafaring man, to fit out another privateer, with which to 
prey upon the rich commerce of the Spanish possessions, then 
the most valuable and productive in the New World. At that 
period the seas were swarming with these pests of the ocean, and 
the ships of neutral nations were frequently subjects of plunder, 
and a general crusade by the warships of maritime nations was 
instituted. It was, therefore, found expedient to secure some 
safe harbor into which they could escape from the ships of war, 
and where, too, they could establish a depot for the smuggling 
and sale of their spoils. The little bay or cove of Grand Terre 
was selected. It was called " Barataria," and several huts and 
storehouses were built, and cannon planted upon the beach. It 
was inaccessible to men-of-war, and it was near the city of New 
Orleans, and from it the lakes and bayous afforded an easy water 
communication nearly to the banks of the Mississippi, within a 
short distance of the city. A regular organization of the priva 
teers was established, officers were chosen, and agents appointed 
in Xew Orleans to enlist men and negotiate the sale of goods. 

Gradually, by his success, enterprise, and address, Jean Lafitte 
obtained such ascendancy over those fierce and lawless men that 
they elected him their commander. It is not intended in this 
sketch to relate the adventurous career of Lafitte, which in itself 
would embrace a space equal to that employed in this narrative. 
The object is simply to trace the ancestry and origin of one who, 
at one time, was intimately connected with the subject of these 
memoirs. How, through the agency of Lafitte, the Government 
of the United States was put into possession of the plan of cam 
paign of the British, in the contemplated invasion of Louisiana, 
is a matter of history. The proverbial ingratitude of Eepublics 
was also exemplified in its treatment of him and his followers, 
when a combined naval and land force, under the command of 
Commodore Patterson and Colonel Ross, entered the bay, and, 
as the Baratarians would not fisfht against the flag of the United 
States, seized their vessels, filled them with the goods found upon 



208 KEMINJSCENCES OF DAN EICE 

the island, and made captive the buccaneers. But Lafitte, being 
forewarned, was not there. He had escaped to a point above 
New Orleans, known as the German coast, in one of the vessels 
wherein was considerable treasure. That he was offered a rich 
reward by the British authorities to aid the English invasion, 
has never been controverted, and that he dallied with them until 
he could convey their plans to Governor Claiborne is also undis 
puted. The packages of Col. Edward Nichols, Commander of 
His Britannic Majesty s land forces, and of Sir W. H. Percy, 
commander of the naval forces in the Gulf of Mexico, dated 
September 1, 1814, to " Mr. Lafitte," and forwarded to the Gov 
ernor, may be seen in the records of the United States District 
Court in New Orleans. Their authenticity was at first doubted, 
but afterwards it was fully established. After the retirement of 
Commodore Patterson, Lafitte and those with him who had es 
caped, reoccupied Barataria, and subsequently obtained an am 
nesty and pardon of himself and followers, as well as the libera 
tion of his brother Pierre, who had been taken prisoner, and in 
connection with a United States officer, he was employed in for 
tifying the passes of Barataria Bay, and in command of a party 
of his followers, he rendered efficient service in the battle of 
January 8, 1815. President Madison confirmed the amnesty 
which had been granted to all the Baratarians who had enlisted 
in the American service, but Lafitte never received any further 
reward for his services. The story that he perished at sea in 1817 
is not borne out by facts. It is known that, after aiding Jackson 
at the battle of New Orleans, he founded a settlement on the 
site of the present city of Galveston, where there is a grave known 
till this day as the Lafitte grave. This rendezvous was broken 
up by a naval force in command of Lieutenant, after Commodore, 
Kearney, in 1821, but there is nothing authentic of the after 
life or death of Lafitte, who is described as a man of noble pres 
ence, over six feet high, hazel eyes, and black hair, and winning 
and affable address. The terms offered him by the British com 
mander, Colonel Nichols, for his cooperation in the invasion of 
Louisiana were $30,000 and the command of a fine brig of war, 
which he spurned, only to be afterwards denounced by General 
Jackson as the leader of a " hellish banditti." 

Barataria is once more a solitude, a few dark mounds and scat 
tered debris the only evidence of its brief state of active and law 
less existence. A tradition exists that there is wealth hidden 
beneath its surface, buried by the buccaneers, and the same is 
said of the Island of Galveston, but so far the enterprising 
searchers have found nothing to repay their efforts. Lafitte had 
an only daughter, who, at an early age, became the wife of one 
of his lieutenants, a young man named Johnson. The fruit of 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 209 

the marriage was the subject of this brief sketch, Jean Lafitte 
Johnson, named after his grandfather, the so-called " Pirate of 
Barataria," and a girl whose subsequent history is unknown. 
After the dispersion of the buccaneers at Galveston, Johnson and 
his wife settled in New Orleans where Jean was born and chris 
tened by a priest named Hemacourt, as the record of his baptism 
will show. When only seven years old his mother died, and 
subsequently his father removed to St. Louis. It was in the 
spring of 1849 when Dan Eice was in the city that Johnson de 
termined to cross the plains to the Pacific slope. He had been 
working as a stevedore, and, as at that time the California fever 
was strong, he determined upon an effort to better his fortune 
in the golden region. His son, Jean, was then a youth, but 
strong and active, and with a form which might have served as 
a model for Praxiteles. Mr. Eice, who knew the father, saw that 
he might readily be made an acquisition to the arena, and he 
agreed to take him as an apprentice, thus relieving the father of 
considerable anxiety. 

Johnson started, and it was the last seen of him, as on his 
hazardous journey across the plains he was murdered by the 
Indians, at least such was supposed to have been his fate. In 
the meantime young Jean proved himself an apt scholar, and be 
came a favorite with the public. His symmetrical and graceful 
figure and pleasant and ingenuous countenance, added to his 
speedily acquired skill as an equestrian, were attributes which 
bid fair to exalt him above most of his fellow professionals, nor 
did his tutor, Mr. Eice, relax an effort in perfecting his educa 
tion, not only as a rider but in the higher school of calisthenics. 
Before he had served a year of his apprenticeship, Dan Eice s 
horses were seized at Covington, Ky,. as narrated elsewhere, and 
Jean Lafitte Johnson became the equestrian hero of the " One- 
Horse Show." He shared the varying fortunes of his preceptor 
until the end of his apprenticeship in 1854, when he left and 
engaged with other companies. Finally he became connected 
with John Eobinson s Circus, of which he was a distinguished 
and popular member. At this period he fell in love with an 
adopted daughter of the proprietor, Maggie Homer by name, 
whose father was an old member of the Cincinnati police force. 
She was a fascinating young girl, barely turned sixteen summers, 
and the attachment was mutual, for Jean was at that time a 
counterpart of " James Fitz James," as described by the immortal 
author of the " Lady of the Lake." 

" Light was his footstep in the dance, 
And firm his stirrup in the lists, 
And oh, he had the merry glance, 
Which seldom lady s heart resists." 
14 



210 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

The result was a clandestine marriage which was discovered 
almost immediately after the performance of the ceremony, and 
before an hour had elapsed, his young bride was torn weeping 
from him by the Robinson family, and he himself summarily 
discharged. It was a sad termination to " Love s young dream," 
and a cruel persecution of a couple who might have lived happily 
and together fought successfully the battle of life. Of the two, 
poor Jean felt it most poignantly, Maggie s nature was more 
elastic, for in the course of time she again married, and became 
the wife of " Billy Emerson," the celebrated Ethiopian comedian, 
with whom she lived several years. But it is presumed that her 
second marriage was merely one of convenience, her heart was 
not in it, and finally they separated, when she drifted to Xew 
York and became one of the most noted of the demi-monde. But 
poor Jean Lafitte never rallied from the blow which was laid 
with such relentless force upon his devoted head. His had been 
a pure and unselfish love, as it was his first. From that time, 
pride, ambition, and all that had previously incited him to action, 
and a determination to achieve name, fame, and fortune, lay 
dead and buried. Life had lost its charm and he became a reck 
less castaway. Had the shock and sorrow killed him, or even 
driven him madly unconscious, it would have been a merciful 
dispensation, but he lived on to find relief and f orgetf ulness only 
under the baleful influence of the intoxicating cup. His pro 
fession was abandoned, and he became a wanderer about the 
streets, begging from those who knew him in happier days the 
wherewith to gratify his craving for the liquid damnation. 

A circumstance which endears itself to Mr. Rice s mind as an 
incident of his boyhood worth remembering, gives the present 
reader an insight into purity of heart and purpose, that existed 
in so many families that belonged to the old-time chivalry. It 
was the habit of Mr. Rice, as he {ravelled continually, to entrust 
a portion of his money with some responsible person for safe 
keeping, as the facilities were not so advantageous for depositing 
as those of the present day. Colonel Jones , of Wheeling, W. 
Va., wife was a very benevolent lady, whose name, in connection 
with his, was a household word in all the surrounding country. 
She was especially beloved and admired for her kindness of 
heart, and her scrupulous regard in acts of charity, and never 
neglected a trust that appealed to her sense of honor. Of the 
many who enjoyed her confidence, Mr. Rice was one of the num 
ber, and, as he was a great favorite on account of his cheerful 
disposition and sense of the humorous, she took great interest in 
his affairs, and her instructions were always a pleasure to con 
template and ponder over. A few days after Colonel Jones had 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 211 

been laid to rest, while Mr. Rice was making his preparations to 
leave, she came to him and said, " My boy, before the Colonel 
was taken away, he told me that if anything happened to him to 
give you fifty dollars on your return, and here it is in gold. 7 Mr. 
Rice thanked her, and said that he did not know what to do with 
it as he was travelling almost constantly from place to place, and 
asked her to keep it for him, as she had done on other occasions. 
She readily assented, and soon after Mr. Rice left and never saw 
her afterwards. Some time had elapsed and he was again in 
stalled in Pittsburg, when, one day going to the banking house of 
Holmes & Co., where he had previously deposited his money form 
time to time, he was notified that fifty dollars in gold had been 
added to his credit, and gave him a letter that had accompanied 
the amount. Which letter explained that Mrs. Jones did not 
long survive her husband, and, when she was rapidly declining, 
she sent the money to Mr. John McCourtney, of Wheeling, W. 
Ya., who acted in the capacity of confidential agent for the bank 
ing house, and he, knowing that Mr. Rice had deposited his 
money with them previously, put the amount in their charge, for 
which Mr. Rice was credited. Thus Mrs. Jones discharged a 
duty which has few equals in these days of perplexing embarrass 
ments. 

It was at the Wheeling races that young Rice met, in the Vir 
ginia Hotel, his former patron, Mr. Elliott, of Baltimore, and his 
beautiful wife, Madame Celeste, whom he had married under 
the following romantic circumstances: 

Mr. Elliott and a party of his friends attended the old Bowery 
Theatre in Xew York, on the evening of June 27, 1837, to wit 
ness the performance of Madame Celeste in the play of " The 
French Spy." The fame of this artist had preceded her in this 
country, and she was creating here, as she had in Europe, a great 
sensation. Not only by her pantomimic action, but also her 
artistic display of terpsichorean skill and fascination, is what 
caught the impressionable nature of Mr. Elliott, and he pre 
sented to her from his box, as she responded to the encore, a very 
valuable diamond ring that he took from his finger. Mr. T. S. 
Hamblin, the manager, who was present in the box, immediately 
went back on the stage and informed the lady through the inter 
preter that the gentleman s designs were honorable, then return 
ing to the box he invited the coterie of friends to the green-room. 
Mr. Elliott was then introduced to the great artist, who invited 
him and his friends to lunch with her at the Hotel de Paris on 
Broadway, which invitation they accepted. While on the way to 
the hotel, Mr. Elliott made a bet of five thousand dollars with Mr. 
Harry Sovereign that he would marry the lady within a month, 



212 BEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

which he did,, much to the amusement of his friends and the 
amazement of Mr. Sovereign, who met the contract with all the 
spirit of old-time chivalry. Mr. Elliott and his lovely wife lived 
together several years, during which time a daughter came to 
grace their home. She was educated at Baltimore, and married 
eventually one of its most prominent citizens. Madame Celeste 
returned to London after her separation from Mr. Elliott, and 
continued her professional career, being a pronounced favorite 
in the play-going fraternity. 

Among the numerous little episodes that entered the opening 
career of his early manhood, Mr. Rice mentions one in which he 
figured largely in subduing the question of right of way in the 
public thoroughfare, in one locality at least, and which was es 
tablished by a resort to honest blows, guided by scientific rules 
that made the results most emphatic and impressionable. Con 
sequently, he was the conquering hero in a well-earned combat, 
and had, for an opponent, a distinguished statesman in embryo. 
In the early days, before the railroad had penetrated the remote 
districts, the main towns being connected by different stage 
roads, there was, necessarily, much opposition among the rival 
stage lines that ran on scheduled time over the routes. Promi 
nent among those in eastern Ohio, were the two opposition lines 
running between Columbus and Marietta. One under the inter 
ests and ownership of several of the best and most prominent citi 
zens, was called the Hildebrand Company Stage Line, and in 
cluded the landlord of the Mansion House, Capt. John Lewis, 
John Marshall, owner of the Horse Ferry, the Barbour Bros., and 
Mr. Holmes, a prominent merchant. The other was called the 
Neil Moore & Co. Stage Line, and the divided honors of the two 
companies were about equal. The route at one point lay along 
the Muskingum River and the overflow after storms was liable 
to cause a crevasse in the embankment, and thus impair the stage 
road so that only one vehicle could pass at a time, while others 
waited beyond the break. The feeling of opposition ran very 
high between the drivers of the rival companies, who were gen 
erally strong, hardy boys from the farms in the adjoining coun 
try, and the excitement was very great when two opposition stages 
happened to meet at a crevasse where one would be compelled 
to stop for the other to pass. Many a wordy battle ensued, which 
often led to both drivers dismounting and indulging in an em- 
pathic " rough and tumble " that would delay the passengers 
beyond the schedule time, and each company found it necessary 
at times to employ guards to assist in preserving the law of 
order. On such occasions, Mr. Rice, who was then a sturdy lad 
and not afraid of entering a contest with the largest of them, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 213 

while on a visit to the Reppert farm near Marietta, was asked to 
accompany Lemuel Flowers, of the Hildebrand Co. Line, over 
the route to McConnellsville and return. With his great love 
for adventure, and a spirit fortified for any emergency, he ac 
cepted, and thus filled the office of guard to Flowers, who appre 
hended difficulty on the journey. All went well after the start, 
until they were met by the rival stage very near to the " break " 
in the road, and each driver urged his horses with all speed to 
reach it first. The Hildebrand stage arrived on the scene about 
twenty feet ahead of the other, and halted in such a position that 
his rival could not pass. Then it was that " Greek met Greek," 
the difficulty began, and the guard, springing off the Neil stage, 
took hold of the wheel horses of the Hildebrand stage to make 
way for his driver to pass, when Flowers gave the reins to Mr. 
Rice and contended that he had the right of way as he had 
reached the " break " first. The guard contested it and they 
soon came to blows, when the driver of the Neil stage left his 
horses and came to the guard s assistance. He was a tall, gaunt 
young man nearly six feet, and was known about the country 
by the sobriquet, of " Sockless Jerry," because of his proverbial 
aversion to those useful adjuncts of male attire. Young 
Flowers could master the guard single-handed, but when the 
giant Ohian came to the rescue,, he was not equal to the size 
of the reinforcement, so Mr. Rice found it necessary for him also 
to interfere and test the strength of the adversary. He vaulted 
over the side of the stage just as Flowers was receiving some well 
directed kicks from the exasperated driver while he still held the 
guard down, and, bringing all his science to a focus between the 
eyes of the giant, rolled over with him into the " break " made 
by the crevasse, and implanting his scientific blows wherever he 
could find a place to do so. They afterwards lefr him in the 
hands of the guard whom Flowers had released. The passengers 
commended Mr. Rice for the part he had been forced to take in 
the affair, and Flowers, with his guard, proceeded on the journey 
to McConnellsville, reaching there on schedule time. The news 
of the combat had preceded them, however, and spread in every 
direction, and the sterner element congregated from the adjacent 
farms, etc., to see the heroes of the day. When the stage was 
ready for the start on the return trip, the people all gave three 
cheers for Flowers and Mr. Rice, who had whipped Jerry Rusk, 
and, on arriving at Marietta, they learned that the Neil stage 
had arrived an hour behind time. The driver was at the Mansion 
House under the treatment of a physician, and suffering from a 
badly bruised face, while the guard had gone to his home to 
recruit after paying the penalty of his defeat, and was never 
known to show a disposition to be a stage guard again. The long, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

notable career of Mr. Eusk is well known, and his name was a 
household word during President Benjamin Harrison s adminis 
tration,, when he acted as Secretary of Agriculture. His early 
manhood was guided and actuated by good motives that devel 
oped him into a brilliant accessory as time wore on, and good 
deeds were the inevitable results of his statesmanship. Beloved 
for his hearty good-humor, he was always approachable, even in 
his official state, and benevolence was imprinted in every linea 
ment of his features. " Uncle Jerry " Rusk was a personal friend 
of Mr. Rice all through his life, and pleasant social fetes have 
brought them many times together. They enjoyed many hearty 
laughs over the stage line experience, and he always insisted that 
if Mr. Rice had not thrown him into the gully, he would, to use 
his own language, " have got away with him/ In recalling to 
mind the death of General Rusk which occurred while he was 
under the influence of anaesthetics, and passing through a surgical 
operation performed by the Surgeon-General, Dr. Hamilton, for 
a painful malady it is a strange coincidence that Mr. Rice, being 
a victim to the same ailment, passed successfully through the 
same operation without the use of anaBsthetics under the skilful 
surgery of the eminent Dr. D. M. Barr, of Long Branch, X. J. 

In connection with the episode of the stage-line difficulty, an 
interesting occasion was celebrated the next day in Marietta, 
which Mr. Rice attended with all the fires of patriotism burning 
in his impulsive nature. The great Whig mass meeting opened 
its session in the interest of Gen. William H. Harrison for Presi 
dent, and the Hon. Thomas Corwin for Governor. The speeches 
of the candidates were exceptionally fine, and Mr. Rice regards 
Mr. Corwin as the most able and eloquent stump orator that he 
ever listened to. His perfect control over the facial expression 
has never been equalled either on or off the stage. Mr. Rice at 
that time had the reputation of being a fine natural singer, and 
the Committee of Arrangements invited him to go on the stage 
and join in singing the campaign songs, which invitation he 
cordially acepted. He had received his first instructions in 
politics from his esteemed old friend George Reppert, at the 
farm, and there had instilled in his mind, a proper understanding 
of the principles of the Albert Gallatin school. The crowds 
gathered from all parts of the country to attend the mass meet 
ing, and Mr. Rice led the principal vocalists in singing the mem 
orable song of 

" Tippecanoe and Tyler too, 
And with them we ll beat little Van. 
Van! Van! Van is a used-up man, 
And with them we ll beat little Van! " 




**^ 







ADAM FOREPAUGH 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 215 

Among the chorus singers on that occasion was Mr. William 
Windom, of Belmont County, 0., who eventually became a prom 
inent lawyer, and acted in the capacity of attorney in several 
instances for Mr. Rice when he was in the circus business. It is 
well known how his naturally gifted mind gradually developed 
into that of a superior statesman, and he afterward became Secre 
tary of the Treasury under President Benjamin Harrison. He 
was previously a Cabinet officer under President Garfield, and 
was one of the most efficient statesmen in manipulating great 
issues that affected either the State or Government that he repre 
sented. In later years, when Mr. Rice had retired from his public 
career, he renewed the acquaintance with Mr. Windom, and 
they enjoyed many social pleasantries, and exchanged opinions 
on the prevailing topics of the period; but, upon one subject they 
always agreed, they had both sung together the Whig campaign 
song of 18-iO, and still retained enough of the old-time spirit to 
be classed in the school of Old Line Whigs. 

CAPT. TOM LEATHERS. 

Tom Leathers, the brave and big-hearted, has gone over at last 
to join the majority He has made his last landing, and I trust 
cast anchor in the tideless port of heaven. He was one of my 
firmest and most faithful friends. He was a man of superb pres 
ence and sterling character. He lived in the most romantic and, 
at the same time, most material and sensational days of the Re 
public, lie was the pioneer pilot of the Mississippi River, and 
far and away the best-known and most popular man in the 
imperial domain of the Mississippi Valley, whose greatness he 
did so much to develop, and in which he was so majestic a figure. 
In the early 7 4() s I first made his acquaintance. Words are in 
deed too weak to recite in detail the story of our mutual interest 
or do adequate justice to the memory of days that formed the 
unfaltering friendship that I still maintain for him. The follow 
ing tribute of a mutual friend, anent the announcement of his 
death will suffice to depict, in some measure, his noble character 
and ennobling career: 

" The popularity and fame of Captain Leathers were a house 
hold word in the Mississippi Valley and the staterooms on his 
boats brought premiums. He never lost a life. His coolness 
and presence of mind never failed him when danger menaced, 
which was often. He knew his business thoroughly and his rise 
was due to merit. His first boat, I think, was the old Princess/ 
of which he was mate before being promoted to her command. 
Tn 1858 he built the first Natchez/ and from that day his 
prominence as a river man was assured. When his boat was 



216 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

burnt on the Black River by the Federal soldiers just after the 
war commenced, Captain Tom was ruined. All his earnings 
were invested in the boat, but his friends stood by him and 
bought the Magenta/ which he ran for a while until the second 
Natchez was afloat. This is the boat which took part in the 
historic race with the Eobert E. Lee from New Orleans to 
St. Louis. The race created great interest throughout the whole 
country. Along the river the big race occupied public attention 
exclusively for weeks before it carne off. The betting on the out 
come is said to have been the heaviest ever known. 

" Captain Leathers commanded the Natchez and Captain 
Canon, another popular boatman, the Lee/ Both captains 
prepared their boats with care. Every extra pound was taken off 
the Lee/ even the doors and shutters, and the decks of both 
racers were piled with resinous knots. On the day of the start 
the Crescent City went wild with excitement, and the river for 
twenty miles up stream was filled with excursion craft loaded to 
the guards with admirers of the rival boats. The start was on 
June 30, 1870. The race was a close one and along the river the 
people came miles from the interior to catch a fleeting glance of 
the flyers. The Lee won by several hours, making the dis 
tance in three days, eighteen hours and fourteen minutes, ar 
riving in St. Louis on July 4th, where her crew as well as that 
of the defeated i Natchez/ received the freedom of the city. 
After this the Lee * wore the horns as queen of the river, but 
the result was not considered entirely conclusive. The Natchez 
was delayed by fog during the first part of the race and the coal 
ing arrangements of the Lee were much better. She took her 
coal on board without slackening speed from fast steamers sta 
tioned at points on the route, while the Natchez had to run in 
and take coal barges in tow. This was the last great race on the 
river." 

Captain Leathers successively built and commanded five boats 
called " Natchez/ all of them magnificently appointed steamers. 
In those days the boats monopolized the river passenger traffic, 
and as there was much competition, the accommodations were of 
the costliest description, and the tables on first-class boats were 
equal to those of the best hotels of the present da) 7 . The big 
saloon cabins every night after supper were cleared and the pas 
sengers had their choice of amusements. There was always a 
good band for dancing, and card tables stood invitingly in the 
forward saloon. These were the palmy days of gambling, and the 
boats were patronized by all kinds of professional sports. It was 
difficult for a captain to protect his passengers, but so well-known 
was Captain Tom Leathers determined way with card sharpers 
that his boats enjoyed comparative immunity from the swindling 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 217 

fraternity. He never drank to excess or gambled himself, and if 
a passenger was fleeced on his boat the accused man was hunted 
up, summarily investigated, and, if guilty, the boat s nose was 
pointed to the nearest bank and the offender " walked the plank " 
and waded through mud and water to the shore, sometimes many 
miles from a settlement. As such experiences were unpleasant, 
Captain Tom s boats were given a wide birth by sharpers, and 
consequent!} the wealthy river-front planters between Vicks- 
burg and Xew Orleans preferred the Natchez always for them 
selves and families. 

THE CAPTAIN S HISTORY. 

Captain Leathers is a Kentuckian, hailing from Covington, 
and has followed the river since childhood. He has married 
twice. His second wife was Miss Claiborne, and a member of the 
well-known New Orleans and St. Louis family of that name. 
He has six children living, three boys and three girls. Captain 
Leathers gave up active life on the river ten years ago. He is 
now largely interested in the company running boats between 
Vicksburg and New Orleans, and has offices in the latter city. 
His eldest son, Boland, commands a stern-wheel " Natchez " 
belonging to the line and is a chip of the old block. The other 
boys likewise followed in their father s footsteps and are 
popular. 

Captain George A. Devol, who lived for many years in New 
Orleans and travelled constantly with Captain Leathers and his 
compeers, said yesterday: " Yes, I am well acquainted with Cap 
tain Leathers. I knew all of the old-time river captains inti 
mately. There was a Captain Canon he is dead. Captain 
Tobin is dead also. Captain White is gone. I guess Leathers 
is about the only one left of his generation. And what splendid 
fellows they were, brave, generous, and charitable. They took 
the greatest pride in their profession, and were square and trust 
worthy. I could never get one of them even to accept a present. 
The last Natchez was the fastest boat ever put in the Missis 
sippi River. She struck a snag seven or eight years ago while in 
command of Boland Leathers and was a total loss. Just before 
she started on her last trip her insurance of $125,000 was reduced 
to $20,000, and the loss was a bad blow to the old captain. He is 
rich, though, and lives in splendid style in New Orleans. He is 
just the same unassuming Captain Tom as ever, and an old 
friend is always welcomed heartily. His reminiscences of river 
life are fascinating. I hope to enjoy another pipe and a 
julep with Captain Tom before either of us makes our last 
landing." 



218 REMINISCENCES OF BAN RICE 



MIFFLIN KENEDY. 

Another brave, strong,, gentle spirit has passed away. In the 
fullness of his ripened years, enriched with the memories of a 
good and useful life, armored with the respect and aureoled with 
the tender love of legions, in the twilight of his life s day the 
end came and dusk melted into dawn. 

His was an instructive career, an inspiring life. 

He was a pioneer, and turned from the peace and tranquility 
of his boyhood home to mingle in the sterner, ruder scenes in the 
border land of romance and adventure. He had within him the 
same inquiring,, adventurous blood that set Drake and Raleigh 
afloat on the unknown seas and spurred Columbus when he 
turned his back to the sun and set the Star of Empire forever 
in the West. 

In a time and country, and among a people where might was 
often right, he only used his influence and power to make them 
synonymous. 

There is not a single unjust or oppressive act debited on the 
ledger of Mifflin Kenedy s life. 

He was early thrown amid associates where violence was not 
uncommon; he never gave nor took a blow. It was known that 
he possessed a resolute will, an iron nerve, and a superb courage. 
He commanded respect. His heart was as tender as a woman s. 
He inspired affection. 

He knew friendship s sacred meaning. To his friends he 
was as 

" Constant as the Northern Star, 
Of whose true, fixed, and resting quality 
There is no fellow in the firmament." 

Hatred was a luxurious dissipation of the soul from which his 
spirit revolted. He abhorred deceit, dishonesty, and dishonor, 
and when he found them in any human being he shunned him. 

His charity was as wide as the sky, and wherever he found 
human suffering, human misfortune, his sympathy fell upon it 
as the dew. 

Humanity is better because he lived. 

He never sought nor held any political office. This alone 
entitles him to distinction. But he was keenly alive to the duties 
of American citizenship, and within the scope of his influence 
few moves on the political chessboard were made without his 
advice, given always for good, always for right. 

His time and labor and money had been freely given to bring 
progress and prosperity to this country and its people, and his 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 219 

hopes were centred in their upbuilding and betterment. It is 
pitiful that he could not have stayed to see the material regen 
eration of those whom he had led and loved and served so long. 
Just now when every sign points to fairer weather, when the 
commercial hilltops herald the coming of the better day, when 
the seed he sowed in generous wisdom is ripening into bounteous 
harvest, when the people, emerging from the wilderness of doubt 
and despair, behold just beyond the glint and gleam of the prom 
ised land, his leadership is still needed, his voice and presence 
will be sadly missed. 

" One blast upon his bugle horn 
Were worth a thousand men." 

Mifflin Kenedy was a keen, sagacious business man. He ac 
cumulated wealth, but he used money he never abused it. Upon 
his soul selfishness left not a single sordid stain. He loved the 
beautiful, and wealth harnessed literature, art, and science to his 
bidding. 

DAN EICE, ESQ., Girard, Pa. 

My dear Sir: You must not think that I have forgotten your 
kindness. I write now to say that it will be impossible for me to 
be present on the first day of November, when the monument 
you propose to raise at Girard to the heroic defenders of the 
Republic is to be dedicated. My time is too much occupied with 
newspaper and other public matters to allow me to leave even for 
a moment. I trust the celebration may be worthy of the noble 
object you have in view. For myself, I can say, having watched 
your course during the whole rebellion, that your services deserve 
to be remembered and honored by the country. Constantly 
meeting vast audiences, men, women, and children of all parties, 
nothing but loyalty has ever fallen from your lips. Even the 
early difficulties that beset your path were removed by the con 
sistency and courage with which you illustrated great principles. 
I remember well, in the darkest hours of the war, how you 
cheered the hearts of those who saw and heard you. Well I do 
remember accompanying you to see Mr. Lincoln when you took 
him the draft on the United States Treasury over from General 
Fremont for $32,000 in payment of steamboat " James Eay- 
mond " which he forced into service at St. Louis, and how grate 
ful he and Mr. Seward and Mr. Stanton were when you asked 
them to distribute it to the widows and orphans of the soldiers. 
Again regretting that I will not be able to be present on the first 
of November, I am, my dear sir, very truly yours, 

SIMON CAMERON. 

Washington, October 23, 1865. 



220 REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 

DAN RICE, ESQ., Xew York. 

Dear Sir: 1 fully appreciate your claim to be called a " public 
man," and, in common with the great mass with whom you are so 
constantly in intercourse, recognize the extent and value of your 
services as a public man. Whatever may have been Stanton s 
true sentiments affecting the admonition and advice you prof 
fered the Government involving Southern and Western condi 
tions, I frankly disavow any suspicion of insincerity as to your 
purpose in presenting, as you diet, with so eloquent and forceful 
emphasis, the startling facts concerning his own personal safety. 
The ears of public men are honeycombed these days with similar 
rumors. Doubtless this may be explanatory of his somewhat 
heated reply that if you were a " public man " you might have 
learned to laugh such threats to scorn. 

It is unnecessary for me to say more to one of your intelligence, 
tact, and courage, than, go ahead as you began in your career of 
success. 

With assurances of my appreciation of your friendly expres 
sions, Very respectfully yours, 

S. A. DOUGLAS. 

Washington, July 30, 1861. 

REMINISCENCES OF HALF A CENTURY AGO. THE VENERABLE 
SHOWMAN WRITES TO His OLD FRIEND, HON. S. NEW 
TON PETTIS. 

The following letter has been received by Hon. S. Xewton 
Pettis, of this city, from Colonel Rice, in his day the greatest 
circus clown known, and always a favorite here. As is generally 
known, Mr. Rice was born and raised in Girard, Erie County. 

LONG BRANCH CITY, X. J., September 27. 
HON. S. XEAVTON PETTIS. 

Dear Old Friend: I had long thought you an inhabitant of 
the city of the dead, where marble shafts bespeak the departed 
great, statesmen loyal and those of craft, had all succumbed to 
nature s mandate, but thanks to a mutual friend, Calvin J. 
Hinds, attorn ey-at-law at Girard, Erie County, who sent to me 
an Erie paper containing glad tidings that you still live, though 
on " crutches," therefore allow me to congratulate you. I trust 
that you will soon be able to abandon them, and that your exist 
ence on this " mundane sphere " will be painless and that your 
great nerve and physical activity will carry you into a grand and 
ripe old age, enabling you, when the time arrives to shake off 
this mortal coil, to look back upon a well-spent life with a heart 
full of hope. I have often thought of you and the many social 



KEMIXISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 

pleasantries we have enjoyed in the delightful past., and as Moore 
says: 

" Let fate do her worst, there are moments of joy, 
Bright dreams of the past that she cannot destroy, 
That come in the night time of sorrow and care, 
That hring back the features that joy used to wear, 
Long, long be my heart with such memories filled, 
Like the vase in which roses have long been distilled; 
You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, 
But the scent of the roses will clin to it still." 






My dear judge, the joy to me was unspeakable when I read 
the enclosed newspaper clipping which answered a letter of in 
quiry as to your whereabouts, if living. The accident you met 
with came very near causing a different report to reach me. How 
sad it is to hear of a person, especially one who has lived a life 
of usefulness, passing out of this life when years of experience 
have made him doubly dear to the community at large, and it is 
thus in your case. Had it been a report of your having left this 
sublunary world to join the great majority in the dim and mys 
terious region upon the other side of Styx, I, in common with all 
who know you best, would have mourned the loss of one who was 
useful to his fellow-man, and an honor to his country. 

And yet why grieve over the departed spirit of him whose 
exalted virtue and underlying faith in the blood of Calvary are 
an earnest of beatitude to come? And why should sinners 
mourn the Christian dead, who, having shaken off life s weary 
load, mount to the regions of eternal bliss to rest upon the 
bosom of their God? 

I am, and have been, engaged in writing my history, which is 
about ready to be placed in the hands of my biographer to revise 
and compile, and then the publisher takes it and prints in the 
best leading style for the world s amusement and instruction. 
And now, as you are aware, I have labored over half a century 
under a circus tent, within a radius embracing forty-two and a 
half feet of diameter, to promote the happiness of my fellow- 
man in the rapidly progressing ages, and I now leave behind me 
a work which has almost exhausted my pleasure-freighted mind, 
in order to meet the demands that have emanated from my ex 
perience and career in the jesting world, and when I have passed 
" to the bourne from which no traveller returns," I will have left 
a memento which will cause all who read to smile at the vagaries 
of the clown, DAN EICE. 

By dictation, per private secretary, M. W. B. 

P. S. I would be more than pleased to receive a few lines 



222 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

from you,, and to hear of your perfect restoration to health, and 
my good wishes follow you to that end. Truly yours, 

DAN RICE, 

Per M. W. B. 

The older class of our citizens, notably Col. James E. McFar- 
land, James G. Foster, and J. D. Gill, will probably call to mind 
the incident that originated the pleasant relations referred to by 
Mr. Rice as having long existed between him and Judge Pettis. 
About 1852, Colonel Rice, while in the zenith of his professional 
glory and prosperity, advertised to give three performances on 
the Diamond in one day morning, afternoon, and evening. In 
the morning, soon after the Colonel s pavilion on the Diamond 
was pitched, Hon. John W. Howe, as attorney for Judge David 
Derickson, had Rice arrested, charged with maintaining a 
nuisance in the square. William II. Davis, Esq., appeared for 
Rice, but the magistrate, W. D. Tucker, decided that Rice must 
either move his tent, give bail, or go to jail. At that moment 
the constable saw Mr. Pettis passing the office, and said to Rice, 
" There goes a young man who has a great deal of snap in him, 
and I would advise you to call him in," and Rice replied, " Do 
so." Pettis looked at the papers and directed the magistrate to 
make out the jail commitment, and asked the constable to come 
by his office en route for the jail. "When the constable and 
Colonel Rice reached the office, Pettis joined them with a petition 
for a writ of habeas corpus, which Judge Adrain soon allowed, 
and gave notice to Mr. Howe that a hearing would take place in 
ten minutes, upon the writ looking to and praying for the dis 
charge of Rice from the commitment. 

Upon the appearance of Mr. Howe, Mr. Pettis made a speech 
of a few minutes, charging that the interference with Mr. Rice s 
business was unauthorized, unlawful, unconstitutional, and in 
violation of the bill of rights, and concluding with the statement 
that Mr. Rice s bills were out for Waterford the next day, and 
Erie the following day, and then sat down to hear what Mr. 
Howe might have to say against Mr. Rice s discharge. As Mr. 
Howe rose, Judge Adrain adressed him as follows: 

" Mr. Howe, be brief, be brief, my mind is made up. Mr. Rice 
cannot be deprived of his liberty in any such way. He has to 
show in Waterford to-morrow, and it is my duty to discharge 
him." Mr. Howe, it is said, accepted the inevitable gracefully, 
fell back in good order without saying a word, although joining 
in the general applause that followed the judge s decision, and 
Rice went scot free. The whole scene was reproduced by Dan 
that forenoon, afternoon, and evening in the ring, to the amuse 
ment of everybody but Judge Derickson. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 223 

DEAR MR. RICE: 

Yesterday s " Enquirer " contained the enclosed slip which I 
forward to you with the best wishes of an unknown friend. I 
cannot but wish to congratulate any being who does his best to 
make merry, even for a little while, sad hearts and gloomy 
mortals. 

Stored away in the dreamland of my memory are many photo 
graphs, and among them is a cheering one in which you figure 
conspicuously, and your name always brings forward, possibly 
even you may not have forgotten it. The incident occurred back 
in the fifties. John Robinson wanted to have his circus in the 
west end of our city and the most suitable place in his mind was 
a vacant portion of my father s, Samuel H. Taft, lumber yard, 
so Mr. Robinson requested as a favor the use of it, without men 
tioning any remuneration. My father was a great lover of practi 
cal jokes, so in return requested the privilege of inviting a few of 
his friends, his signature being all that was necessary on the 
ticket. Then his big heart warmed towards children who were 
always his friends, and poor people, and he determined to give 
them the memory of at least one circus in their lives. So he 
sent word to all the schools of Green Township to close on a 
certain day to allow the children to attend en masse, as well as a 
general invitation to the whole of that township to come to the 
circus, all with tickets with his signature to be admitted free. 
Only please call early at his office to avoid crowding and give him 
a chance. Though but a child, I well remember the comical 
sight of wagon after wagon of every conceivable style filled to 
overflowing with chairs on which the country people were seated 
fairly choking up Western Row (now Central Avenue). Father 
was rushed from early morning till after circus time signing. He 
said Robinson was at first mar/, but finally the situation got too 
overwhelming for words even for Robinson. Father said he 
never had but one regret about it and that was that he had not 
invited the whole of Hamilton County. The actors enjoyed the 
joke and did their best, so, for the pleasure you gave that day, I 
wish you a long and happy life. 

Most cordially, 

EMMA TAFT TAYLOR. 

Cincinnati, 331 Park Ave., Walnut Hills, Dec. 9, 1894. 

GIRARD, ERIE COUNTY, PA., Nov. 22, 1867. 
Messrs. C. I. TAYLOR and T. G. STEVENSON, Editors "Ionia 

County Sentinel," Ionia, Mich.: 

I cannot address you as " gentlemen," as you have both 
stamped yourselves as mendacious blackguards and malicious 



224 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

liars, by the unjust, cowardly, and unprovoked assault upon me 
in your paper, a copy of which has just reached me through a 
friend. 

Neither can I ask you to give me, through your columns, an 
opportunity to refute your charge that I abuse religion and its 
followers, or entertain feelings of animosity toward the colored 
people, for the reason that knowing your allegations to be ut 
terly false, and simply a scurrilous dodge to manufacture a capi 
tal for the party of obstructionists, political thugs, and thieves, 
of which you are both, in intellect and character and habits, such 
eminently fit representatives, you would not dare, of course, al 
though you may lie about that too, to give me the benefit of a 
contradiction. I am, therefore, compelled to resort to the only 
other public way left of branding and exposing your villainy. 

As far as you are individually concerned, to notice your libel- 
ous attack would be a condescension I should never think of 
granting, and that I now accord you even a brief moment of con 
temptible notoriety is due solely to the fact that, unfortunately 
for both the reputation of the Press and the good of society, you 
have the facilities for perpetuating and disseminating your 
slanderous lies. 

It is not because I do not respect true religion and its followers 
that you deliberately violate the ninth commandment in assailing 
me, but because I will not bow down and worship the idol with the 
face of brass and feet of clay which you have set up, as now, as 
your National God, and cry, " Slay! Slay! " before it when 
resistance has ceased, and through the murder and oppression of 
my countrymen I may taste official pap. 

My religion is that of the Bible which teaches forgiveness and 
charity; yours that of Judas to betray and steal. Born of the 
flesh-pots of Egypt, the bastard offspring of shoddy and central 
ization, it is at once the creed of the desperate and the damned; 
the prelude to destruction and the battle-cry of Hell. 

You, as its apostles and. proteges, are expected to blaspheme 
at and howl against every sentiment of Christian patriotism and 
honest loyalty, and still divided, distracted, and almost ruined 
country, a betrayed soldiery, and an impoverished treasury, tes 
tify well to the Devil, your master, that you are indeed his faith 
ful servants. 

Liars and tricksters that you are, you charge me with cherish 
ing unkindly sentiments towards the colored people. Let us 
compare records, if you dare. I built the first church for slaves 
ever erected in this country. I have freely given to educate and 
elevate the colored race to a standard of intelligence justifying 
their admission to the rights of citizenship, and I have opposed 
constitutional amendments proposing to immediately and reck- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 225 

lessly confer it because I solemnly believe I am acting for their 
best interests, as well as that of the whole community. 

What have you done for them? Taxed the country so that 
they might learn crime through lives of idle dependence upon 
public charity; encouraged them to lawless violence by inflam 
matory appeals and promises of plunder; undertaken to arm them 
with a weapon both against the country and themselves by plac 
ing the ballot in their ignorant and reckless hands. And for 
what? To ensure their freedom and their rights before the law? 
To establish a great principle or correct a great wrong? Xot so, 
ye liars, demagogues, hypocrites, and gamblers, for the seamless 
mantle of Liberty! You would betray them as you have betrayed 
your country. You would make them an instrumentality for the 
revival of civil war, well knowing in your black hearts that they 
must certainly be crushed to atoms in the sanguinary and fratri 
cidal struggle, murdered, that with their blood you may patch 
up your broken power and establish another interregnum of ras 
cality. You would make the negro believe himself better than 
the white man, and leave him far lower in the scale of humanity 
than he is, weighed down forever with the ponderous load of 
your iniquity and ingratitude. 

But, thank God! you have utterly, signally, and miserably 
failed. It is but natural that in the agony of your despair and 
defeat you should hiss and snap your fangless jaws at the hand 
which has, in a humble way, been instrumental in bringing that 
righteous judgment of the people upon you. Twin serpents 
torn from the bodies of the Furies, by the hand of Discord, and 
fleeing, surcharged with venom, in our midst, you are at last 
scratched and the cheering spectacle by your death writhings is 
a source of thankfulness and congratulation to, 

One of your smiters, 

DAN RICE. 

A correspondent, writing to the Philadelphia " Inquirer," says, 
" I attended a public meeting of the Union men in Mason City, 
Va., a few days since, and among those who spoke was a gentle 
man by the name of Rice, who the venerable chairman introduced 
as a citizen from Erie County, Pa., the Keystone State. Of 
course, as a Pennsylvanian I felt an interest in the man, so there 
fore I gave his remarks more than ordinary attention. He was elo 
quent, powerful, and easy in his address and manner, and won 
the admiration of all who surrounded his rostrum. His practi 
cal knowledge of the habits of men in different localities, and the 
system he pursued in pointing out the bitter possibility of the 
success of secession, was no less significant for its originality 
than its truthfulness. He told what the manufacturing North 
15 



226 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

could do, and how essential the activity, genius, and skill of her 
people were to the welfare of the great agricultural territory of 
the Sunny South/ He did not abuse or ridicule any people 
for their peculiarities, or scoff at the manners and conventional 
ities of those who live in certain localities. He showed himself a 
Union man, who had made the history of his country his study, 
whose object was to preserve it whole and undivided, and cause 
it to go * conquering and still to conquer. I am told that Mr. 
Eice has, for some time, been hard at work speaking for the 
Union, leaving the Institution to run itself. He is not an 
enthusiast, neither does he appear like a man who was laboring 
for the gratification of personal ambition or pecuniary advan 
tage. To speak plainly, he talks like a well-informed, educated 
gentleman, who knows what he is talking about, and who works 
for the love of the cause he has enlisted in. I do not know 
whether he has a desire for office, and I presume he has not, but 
it occurred to me that a man like him, who has travelled so far, 
has observed so much, and was so familiar with the wants, habits, 
and manners of the people of all localities, could not speak in 
vain among the lawgivers and sage councils of the nation. 

"Perhaps the next place I may encounter this rising young 
man, Mr. Dan Eice, may be in the State Senate, or in the Halls 
of Congress. More unlikely things have happened, and men of 
far less ability and character have been honored in that way. 
Depend upon it, that Eice will make his mark, and turn his 
abilities to good account." 

NEW ORLEANS, February 12, 1851. 

Dear Sir: Inclosed find my check for five hundred dollars on 
the Canal Bank of this city, given as a small evidence of my ap 
preciation of the noble cause you are engaged in. May God in 
his goodness prosper you. Although a circus clown, I can sym 
pathize with those who sacrifice self for the good of fellow-men. 

Truly yours, 
To Theobauld Mathew, D.D. DAN EICE. 



ORLEANS, February 13, 1851. 

Dear Sir: Your munificent gift to the cause of temperance 
in which I am a faithful laborer, is gratefully received. I have 
been already apprised of your many charitable donations in this 
part of your great country for which you are already rewarded, 
for it is the conscientiousness of having done a good act that is 
man s reward. 

Your affectionate friend in the cause of temperance, 

THEOBAULD MATHEW. 

To Colonel Dan Eice. 



EEMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 227 



DAN RICE AND CHARITY. 

EVANSVILLE, IND., May 14, 1853. 
To THE MAYOR OF LOUISVILLE. 

Dear Sir: Being about to pay you my accustomed spring 
visit, I avail myself of the occasion, to return, through you, to the 
generous citizens of Louisville, my sincere thanks for the kind 
feeling and liberal support they have ever extended to me. I 
assure you, sir,, that 1 shall ever remember with the liveliest 
gratitude the encouragement I met with in your city when fickle 
fortune had frowned upon my efforts to buft et adversity. My 
circumstances at present afford me the pleasure of making 
some small return for these many favors, and to the extent of 
my humble means, I seize the present opportunity of doing so. 
I shall be in Louisville with my Hippodrome and Menagerie, on 
Tuesday the 31st and Wednesday, June 1st, and I tender the 
afternoon performance the second day the same to be devoted 
to any purpose you in your wisdom may deem most laudable. I 
remain with great respect, 

Your obedient servant, 

DAN EICE. 

MAYOR S OFFICE, LOUISVILLE, KY., May 25, 1853. 
DAN RICE, ESQ. 

Dear Sir: Your note has just been handed to me, and I as 
sure you, none of your old friends could be more rejoiced at your 
success in life than the citizens of our city, who have had the 
pleasure of witnessing your performances, and also your liber 
ality on former occasions. From the many acts of charity per 
formed by you, we would suppose success would attend you 
through life. I will, therefore, on the part of the citizens, accept 
your very liberal offer, and designate the " Orphan s Asylum " 
as the recipients of your charity. 

Very respectfully, 

JAS. S. SPEED, Mayor. 

A WAR OF WITS. 

DOESTICKS VS. DAN RICE. 

Two well-known public characters, both at present sojourning 
in this city, and both noted for their ambition and faculty for 
making the public laugh with, not at, them, have lately taken it 
into their heads to pitch into each other, and see if they cannot 
make each other cry, while the public still laugh. Mr. Thomp 
son, of the " Tribune," widely known as Doesticks, the author of 



228 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

many graphic and eccentric sketches of men and manners, not 
liking the style, stuff, prolixity, etc., of Dan Rice, of Nixon & 
Co. s Circus, recently criticised that humorist and conversational 
ist in a rather tart and testy manner; said he was too tedious in 
his talk; wrong in his pronounciation, and wholly guiltless of 
fun or other merit as a clown. In return for which public 
notice bestowed through the columns of the " Tribune/ Mr. 
Rice very naturally retorted, in his province in the ring, and said 
several severe things of Mr. Philander Doesticks, which could 
not be very agreeable to him, unless he is more eccentric than 
the public have given him credit for being. Both the fun- 
makers are professional men, each in his line. Both are report 
ers, and can give a good or bad report of any one, at any time, 
with the advantage of a large circulation. Thus it is caustic pen 
against caustic tongue. Each has his partisans, who, no doubt, 
severally exclaim, as they sum up the respective hard hits ad 
ministered, " If I were not Doesticks, I would be Dan Rice! " or, 
" If I were not Dan Rice, I would be Doesticks." Whether the 
war will continue, or when it will end, none can judge, say those 
who have had experience in the business of bandying person 
alities, and can calculate the amount of pleasure and profit in 
such a game of public give-and-take. The " Tribune " has a 
large circulation, and Doesticks drives a glittering pen. But on 
the other hand, Nixon s Circus is of such unusual excellence, 
completeness, and originality as to fill Niblo s Garden nightly, 
and Dan Rice, with a large audience, has been known to wield 
a tremendous influence in the South and West, swaying them 
pretty much as he pleased. Dan is an old war-dog, though a 
comparatively young man, and his success in taming wild ani 
mals, such as the rhinoceros, elephant, bear, camel, and mule, 
let alone the horse and pony, argues eloquently for his persever 
ance, and, besides this, he has owned and managed circuses, 
menageries, steamboats, theatres, and we know not what else, 
though we can t say how he will succeed with the " Tribune." 

For our part we are generally advocates of peace, but in this 
case, we don t care how long the fight lasts. It is a free fight. 
The pair are well matched. And what with the eccentricities of 
Dan and the gall of Doesticks, there is plenty of sport for the 
readers of the " Tribune " and the patrons of Niblo s. 

Is THERE A SPY AMONG Us? 

The New York " Tribune," of Monday, has the following: 
" A sharp lookout should be kept up for the detection of spies. 
A correspondent writes to inform us that one Dan Rice, the clown 
of a certain circus, being in New Orleans last winter, formed his 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 229 

company into a secession military organization under the name 
of Dan Rice s Zouaves, and that he threatened all his company 
who declined to join his crew, with summary discharge. 

u Lately coming northward, this same man has tried to pass 
himself off as a Union man, and a few days ago, actually had the 
effrontery to deliver a war speech to the volunteers at Erie, Pa. 
It is also said that he has in his train several Southern men who 
would make very convenient spies for the Rebels to use. This 
Rice may, after the manner of his class, be skilled in riding many 
horses about the limited circle of his arena, but his attempt to 
perform a similar feat with two stools will undoubtedly be fol 
lowed by a merited and unprofitable fall." 

" Dan is now in this city, and rides but one horse here, and this 
is a Union one. If, however, he picks up anything that would 
be consoling to Jeff Davis, he should be permitted to telegraph it. 
AYc may add in passing, that Daniel fires a good many point-blank 
squibs at secession in his ring performances, and seems peculiarly 
sensible of the disastrous effects of secession." " The Daily 
Commercial," Cincinnati, 0., May 15, 1861. 

DAN RICE ON HORACE GREELEY. 

CINCINNATI, May 17, 1861. 
EDITORS OF " COMMERCIAL." 

Gentlemen: Many of my personal friends, you, sirs, among the 
number, have expressed a wonder at the vehement remarks the 
Xew York " Tribune " promulgated in regard to me. An absurd 
one you quoted a day or two since, and kindly, in your editorial, 
proved its fallacy. I respect a free and honest press; appreciate 
their good feelings, and am willing at all times to be the subject 
of their criticisms. I know the potential nature of the pen, but 
I do object to misrepresentation and to have my loyalty ques 
tioned. The emetite emanated between myself and one of the 
" Tribune " employees, who aspired to be the great humorous 
writer of the age. My opinion was that he would fail and he has 
done so. His pride was hurt, he became jealous of me, and 
vented his spleen in the columns of the paper. This soreness 
accounts for the milk in the cocoanut. As a loyal, humor-loving 
man, I vindicated the honor of the flag. I was born under the 
American banner and I reproved the man who hissed at it. I did 
so publicly in the Academy of Music, Xew Orleans, where I was 
performing. Perhaps were Mr. Horace Greeley man enough to 
go there and attempt the same, he would create a greater excite 
ment than I could. Petty malice I scorn, therefore I have a poor 



230 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

opinion of the " Tribune s " raids against me, and I flatter my 
self that I am too well known to be injured by them. 

Truly yours., 

DAN EICE. 
" Daily Commercial/ Cincinnati, 0., May 18, 1861. 

DAN RICE AND THE CRITICS. 

Our good-natured friend, Dan Bice, whose pleasantries in the 
circle have done more to make people laugh than all the efforts 
of a modern funny writer has ever achieved, appears to have 
awakened the spleen of our amicable contemporary of the 
" Tribune," and generated one or more very ill-natured com 
ments in the columns of the immaculate sheet aforesaid. Of 
course the public, particularly in the locality where the cynical 
propinquities of the black man s organ are known, receive all 
the shafts cum grano salts, and we believe Dan, who is callous to 
malevolence and misrepresentation, laughs at the attack and con 
siders himself under obligation to W. Horace or his subordinates 
for a first-rate notice. We, as journalists, are fully aware of the 
responsibilities that devolve upon the position, do most em 
phatically object to any paper professing to be respectable, abro 
gating to itself the right, by virtue of its privilege, to misrepre 
sent a public man, no matter in what relation he stands before 
the people. 

Personally, we care very little for Mr. Rice, but the position 
he has acquired in his profession at once proves the total absurd 
ity of the " Tribune s " remarks. A man who can start from this 
city, alone and friendless, as this person did some years ago, and 
pass the ordeal of criticism before the best judges of humor in 
the land, succeed in establishing a universal reputation for ex 
cellence from Maine to New Orleans, return to the metropolis 
and proudly take possession of the finest place of amusement our 
great city can boast of, must surely have merit of no common 
order. 

Beauty, fashion, and intelligence patronize him, and the papers 
speak well of his ability. 

Still, the " Tribune " man votes him a bore, and recommends 
his speedy annihilation. Have mercy, most sanguinary scribbler, 
for remember by your own assertions, you should like Dan, for 
has he not taught his mules to act genteely in good society? Do 
consent to his remaining on this mundane sphere a " few days 
more," and, perchance, when novelties grow scarce, he may 
achieve another triumph in rendering acceptable some of the assi- 
nine individuals who bray so piteously through the columns of 
the " Tribune."" Evening Mirror." " 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 231 



AS OTHEES SAW HIM. 

AUTO-BIOGRAPHIC AND POSTHUMOUS SKETCHES OF THE LIFE 
OF THE SUBJECT OF THESE MEMOIRS BY BRILLIANT AND 
UNBIASED CRITICS, WHOSE RELATIONS WITH COL. RICE 
WERE PECULIARLY FAVORABLE TO A DISPASSIONATE ANAL 
YSIS OF THE MANY PHASES OF THE CHARACTER OF THE 
GREAT JESTER, AND A GRAPHIC REVIEW OF THE TREND 
OF CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MOULDED HIS LIFE MOTIVES 

AND ROUNDED OUT HIS REMARKABLE CAREER. 
RICE S TACT AXD COURAGE. 

A RARE TRIBUTE. 

Charles Stow, the well-known writer of the Barmim and Bailey 
Show, writing in a reminiscent way of Rice s extraordinary ca 
reer, says, " although there have been clowns who were more 
humorous than he, there have been none who possessed a tithe 
of his eloquence, personal magnetism, and singular ability to 
aptly localize the current events of the day. I recall one incident 
which strongly illustrates this faculty: 

" In the spring of 1868, during the height of the impeachment 
trial of President Johnson, Rice s show opened for a week in the 
city of Washington. Of course, the excitement created by the 
trial militated against all kinds of amusement, and the circus 
suffered proportionately. The beggarly attendance at the open 
ing afternoon exhibition convinced Rice that in order to suc 
cessfully meet with what he facetiously termed the competition 
of that cross-eyed clown, Ben Butler, at the Capitol, he must 
bring the impeachment question in some shape into the ring, 
and thereby attract the attention of the public. 

" At the evening exhibition he found his opportunity. Among 
the patrons of the show was Senator Zach Chandler, of Michigan, 
well known as an active mover in the impeachment proceedings. 
Senator Chandler occupied a place in the cross section of seats, 
which, in those days, divided the menagerie from the circus ring, 
as both were located under the same canvas. While Rice was in 
the ring his attention was attracted by a tall colored woman 
with a colored bandanna handkerchief tied about her head, who 
was craning her neck in an effort to find a desirable seat. Taking 
a position immediately in front of where Senator Chandler sat, 
Rice, in that stentorian voice for which he was famous, said de 
liberately Will the Senator from Michigan please seat the col 
ored sister? 



232 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

" Chandler., thus unexpectedly addressed, turned crimson with 
embarrassment, but after a moment s hesitation, arose, went to 
the colored woman, hat in hand, and escorted her to the seat 
which he had occupied. The crowd, which had watched the little 
by-play with puzzled interest, suddenly broke into a perfect 
storm of applause, and when it had subsided, Rice, taking off his 
felt fool s hat and making a profound bow, exclaimed: That s 
right, I honor you, Zach Chandler, for I always like to see a man 
practice what he preaches. Three cheers for Zach Chandler! 
and they were given with a force that made the centre pole 
quiver. 

" After the performance, upon reaching his quarters at Wil- 
lard s Hotel, Rice was confronted by Senator Chandler, who in 
dignantly reproached him for the unwarrantable liberty which 
had been taken with him. Rice, who was a consummate actor 
in his way, was apparently overcome with surprise at being re 
proached by Chandler, and with an asumption of sincerity abso 
lutely convincing, replied: ( Is it possible that you so cruelly 
misapprehend my motives? I was animated by the purest feel 
ing of personal regard and respect, and, sir, I wish here and now 
to assure you that to-night you are envied by every politician 
in Washington, and, that, sir, if you will but follow my circus for 
six months I will make you President of the United States. Of 
course, before such an explanation, genial Zach Chandler s wrath 
could but melt away. 

" Rice was essentially a brave man, and I am sure that I do 
not exaggerate when I say that he never knew the sensation of 
fear. Like most absolutely courageous men he was kindly and 
forbearing under provocation. At the same time, he was, in his 
prime, the strongest man I ever knew, although of medium 
stature, probably not weighing more than one hundred and 
seventy pounds, and possessed of extraordinary agility. 

" In those days difficulties between a certain element of the 
public and circus people were more frequent than now, and Rice, 
through no desire or fault of his own, gained the reputation of 
being an invincible fighter. This bred in the hearts of bullies 
everywhere a desire to gain prominence by whipping the great 
clown. 

" Rice always tried to avoid these difficulties, but after patience 
and forbearance had failed, as they usually did, he would turn 
to and in short order blight the hopes of these aspirants for 
fistic honors. He never was whipped by any man, frequently 
vanquishing several opponents at a time, and came out of all these 
rough contests without serious injury. Possibly his fearlessness 
was in part due to the fact of his being a genuine fatalist, as he 
frequently remarked that the bullet was not moulded which 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 233 

would strike him, and his bearing at the pistol s mouth proved 
that he believed what he said. 

" Rice pursued his nomadic way down the Father of Waters 
with varying fortunes and experiences not always safe or pleasant, 
until he reached Shreveport, La., on the Red River. This place 
had been one of the hotbeds of secession, and was, at the time, the 
rendezvous of as murderous a gang of ruffians as ever terrorized 
a community. Rice had been warned that, on account of the pre 
judicial reports that I have mentioned, it would be exceedingly 
dangerous for him to attempt to exhibit in the town, and his 
friends urged him not to do so, but to this advice he turned a 
deaf ear, simply replying, Tell the people of Shreveport that I 
will exhibit there as announced. News of this determination 
preceded him, creating a furore of excitement and apprehension, 
and when his boat reached the town, a dense crowd was at the 
wharf to receive him. When the gangplank was run ashore he 
was the first to land, and so great was the respect provoked by 
his courageous bearing, that, while verbal insults were heaped 
upon him, he was allowed to unload his show and erect his tent 
without molestation. But the feeling against him was so bitter 
that his entire company refused to appear, the band stampeded, 
and even his veteran canvasmen could not be induced to work." 

THE GREAT CONVERTED. 

DAN RICE AS SKETCHED BY ONE WHO KNEW HIM HIS EARLY 
LIFE, VARIED FORTUNES AND ROMANTIC CAREER PER- 
SON"AL COMBATS AND THRILLING INCIDENTS. 

CHAS. STOW IN THE " BUFFALO DAILY COURIER." 

The recent conversion of Dan Rice, the world-wide famous 
circus manager and clown, has attracted so much attention, and 
suggested so many erroneous attempts at biography, that he 
might have well exclaimed with the jealous Moor, " Speak of me 
as I am! " The awakened interest manifested in the Man of 
Motley may render some personal jottings, by one who knew him 
intimately, acceptable to your readers. 

The arenic brand just snatched from the burning by the hand 
of the evangelist at St. Louis, was born in the city of New York, 
about the year 1820. 

While yet a mere boy, Dan wandered as far west as Marietta, 
0., and became famous the entire length of the Ohio River as a 
daring jockey and remarkably successful quarter-horse rider. He 
subsequently resided at Pittsburg, and there became identified 



234: REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

with the first negro minstrel troupe ever organized. The ex 
hibition of a learned pig was his first venture in the show business 
on his own account. Next he successfully appeared in the more 
pretentious role of 

" THE MODERN SAMSON," 

giving extraordinary illustrations of strength. This served as 
his introduction into the ring in his original and unrivalled role 
of clown, or " Shakespearean Jester/ as he was loudly lined on 
the bills. He speedily eclipsed all rivalry and achieved unparal 
leled popularity and success, and for years his name alone was a 
terror to opposition, and sufficed to draw crowded houses. 
Strange as it may at first appear, to this latter fact his subsequent 
misfortunes are partly attributable. For five or six years, pre 
ceding 1869, he was regularly engaged by other circus managers 
who paid him 

A THOUSAND DOLLARS A WEEK 

for his services and the use of his name, and bankrupted his 
popularit} and brilliant professional reputation by associating 
him with inferior exhibitions, for the shortcomings of which the 
public held him responsible. Previous to this he owned and 
managed different circuses, and the fact that he remained for an 
entire season in the State of New York, drove every other tent- 
show out of that territory, and cleared nearly a hundred thou 
sand dollars, is sufficient evidence of his extraordinary hold upon 
popular favor. 

In 1869, Dan resumed the reins of management on his own 
account, but, like Cassio, he had " lost his reputation/ and, still 
more unfortunately for himself, had got above his business. In 
stead of attempting to reestablish himself as a clown, he foolishly 
undertook to play the gentleman in the ring, and substituting 
semi-political exhortations and pointless lectures for song, jibe, 
jest, and pantomime, prosed and prosed until even his most 
faithful admirers fell away. With almost heroic obstinacy, he 
kept on, as he himself best expressed it, " fighting fate " until 
1872, when the weight of accumulated debts crushed him. His 
beautiful home and valuable property, at Girard, Pa., his flour 
ishing newspaper, his fine stock, his show everything was swept 
away, and yet an enormous deficit left, from which he took refuge 
in bankruptcy, estimating his debts at something like $200,000, 
and stating his assets as " one suit of clothes, $35." Since .then 
he has made repeated starts and failures, and even prolonged 
dissipation, enough to have killed a dozen ordinary men, did not 
seem to sap his indomitable energy and iron will. Until long- 



BEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 23o 

continued misfortune drove him to the intoxicating cup for 
solace and oblivion, Dan was comparatively a temperate man. 
Let this be remembered in his favor. 

It would literally require volumes to contain the romantic and 
thrilling incidents in the public career of one of the most ex 
traordinary of men, for such was Dan Kice, possessed, moreover, 
of many of the attributes of positive genius. It is certainly con 
clusive evidence of greatness to be greatest in anything, no mat 
ter what the calling may happen to be, and that Dan Eice was the 
greatest clown that ever lived admits of no argument, if success 
and public opinion be accepted as the standard by which to judge. 
He has set the motley pattern for his age, and had scores of 
imitators, but not an equal. His history is part of the traditional 
romance of the arena, and thousands of gray beards yet survive 
to chuckle over his earlier escapades, and tell how they have often 
seen the performances interrupted with shouts of " Go on, Dan! 
we don t want to see any circus; we eame to hear you! " With 
the masses he was the demi-god of the sawdust; throughout the 
length and breadth of the land they flocked in eager crowds to 
greet him; sang his songs, repeated his jokes, and prolonged his 
praises. Personally, he was probably the best known man in the 
world, and there was scarcely a hamlet on the continent in which 
he could not find an acquaintance, and recognize him when 
found, for his memory of names and faces was phenomenal, and 
after a lapse of several years could call by name persons whom 
he had met but once before. 

Dan, as a pantomimist, was simply inimitable. He recog 
nized the fact that gesture, expression, and attitude were fun 
nier than words, and employed them with such consummate 
art that his mere entrance into the ring was greeted with 
roars of laughter. Add to this a splendid physique; the most 
sonorous and far-reaching voice ever heard under canvas, fair 
vocal powers, a happy talent for localizing, keen, quick, and 
infallible perception, perfect confidence and self-possession, 
great natural gifts of oratory, personal magnetism sufficient 
to impress the large audience, unchallenged and graceful 
mastery over the horse, and a deserved reputation for courage, 
physical powers, and reckless liberality, and you have the 
secret of success, as well as the imperfect portraiture of a man 
more truly sui generis than any of his profession, if not of 
his time. Out of such a wealth of material, proper education 
and training might readily have moulded a great man in any of 
the higher walks of life, and it is well within the range of possi 
bility that with grace to continue steadfast in the faith, he 
might have become a mighty propagator of the Gospel. As a 
member of the church militant he would have also been most 



REMINISCENCES OE DAN RICE 

redoubtable, for not only was lie worthy to be ranked with Xey 
as " bravest of the brave/ but as a physical and fighting wonder 
he outranked such celebrities as Bill Poole or Yankee Sullivan, 
though without the offensive pugnacity of either. He was about 
five feet nine inches in height, and weighed about one hundred 
and seventy-five pounds, being far from the " giant form/ and 
yet a condensed Hercules in strength, and lithe as a leopard. 
He has doubtless had more personal encounters than any other 
man of his time, and came off victorious from every one. In few, 
if any, cases, was he the aggressor. Local bullies, or rural 
knight-errants of the fists, hearing of his prowess, came long 
distances expressly to whip him, and used few courtly terms to 
make their mission known. Dan invariably sought to avoid bat 
tle by enlarging on the beauties of peace and the folly of fight 
ing for fame alone; but when it was evident kind words availed 
not, he summarily thrashed the aspirant for his undesired and 
inconvenient laurels within an inch of his life. He thus polished 
a number of quarrelsome ruffians into quite respectable citizens, 
and was much esteemed as a public benefactor therefor. 

It may be reasonably doubted whether Dan Rice ever experi 
enced the sensation of fear, and that his courage was absolutely 
bullet-proof admits of no question, upon the thrilling evidence 
furnished by his first trip to the South just after the war. Dan 
had been a great favorite in that section and the people were pro 
portionately incensed against him by the malicious circulation of 
a false report to the effect that he commanded a negro regiment 
during the rebellion. Threats to shoot him on sight were fre 
quently indulged in, and word w r as repeatedly sent him, earnestly 
advising him, as he valued his life, to stay away. His stern and 
only reply was, " I am coming," and he went. The danger had 
not been exaggerated; it was simply appalling, and sometimes 
caused his bravest men to fly and leave him entirely alone to face 
it. His magnificent courage rose equal to every occasion, and 
triumphed in every emergency. In one instance he exposed his 
breast to a howling mob and dared them to shoot, and in another, 
learning that at a certain rendezvous a crowd was assembled, 
thirsting for blood, he went there, revealed himself, made an 
explanatory speech in the face of a dozen cocked revolvers, con 
vinced his mercurial hearers that he had been grossly slandered, 
and was finally carried in triumph on the shoulders of those who 
had sworn to kill him. 

At a small town in Mississippi, while he was taking tickets at 
the door of his tent, a drunken bushwhacker came up and fired 
point blank at him, the bullet passing through his coat. With 
out changing a muscle, he looked his assailant straight in the eye 
and calmly said: " Oh, put that up; we are used to that sort of 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 237 

thing here. Tickets! Tickets!" "By G d," exclaimed the 
assassin, " you are too brave a man to shoot! " and he thrust his 
pistol in his belt and staggered off. It did seem as though Dan s 
life was miraculously, and in the light of recent events, it may 
be thought providentially, preserved. 



^ EOMAXCE IN EEAL LIFE. 

BY W. C. CHUM. 

Editor Florida State Republican. 

It was past the midnight hour on a beautiful July night in 
1848, when loud raps were heard at the hall door of a Methodist 
preacher s house. That house was conspicuously located on the 
main thoroughfare of a delightful country village situated in a 
picturesque valley in the interior of the great State of New York. 
For a clergyman s family of staid and regular habits to be dis 
turbed at such an unusual hour in the thoughts from the visions 
of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, was among the 
rare things to happen, especially among a people who had prac 
tised the maxim of " Early to bed and early to rise makes men 
healthy, wealthy, and wise." It was several moments, therefore, 
before the follower of John Wesley became sufficiently aroused to 
the fact that a stranger was knocking at the door. The good 
man hastily dressed himself and, with light in hand, proceeded to 
the door, and on further inquiry, opened it, when the well- 
dressed form of a handsome young man of less than five and 

twenty summers appeared, who asked if Gardner lived 

there. On being told that he did, the anxious and blushing 
young man was surprised to discover that the benignant dominie 
did not recognize him. 

" You are my uncle," says he, quickly. " Don t you remember 
the boy you used to call Dandy ? " 

" Dandy, Dandy," says the preacher, rapidly revolving in his 
mind. " why, yes; my sister Elizabeth had a son whom we used 
to call Dandy when he was a little fellow. Do you tell me 
you are my sister s son? " 

" Yes, uncle, I am the same fellow, only they don t call me 
Dandy now." 

This last expression, uttered with an air of mental reserve, 
created just a little feeling of doubt in the mind of the sus 
picions uncle, who took a rapid review of the dashing young 
stranger, whose entire appearance indicated a great transition 
from the plain and unpretentious surroundings of his amiable 



238 KEMIN1SCENCES OF DAN KICE 

sister s Methodist home, as he last knew it, while visiting her 
years before in a suburban town, where is situated now one of the 
most fashionable watering places on the Atlantic seashore. How 
can it be possible, thought he, that my sister s son could have 
suddenly met with a fortune that would justify such wealth of 
dress, display of jewels, and flash of diamonds? This is hardly 
compatible with the unostentatious habits of early Methodist 
life. But the instinct of consanguinity soon bubbles over where 
evidences of blood kin relationship stands out so conspicuously 
as it did on the classic features of the honest young man who 
stood in full outline before his uncle. He could not but recognize 
in his face the lineaments of both his father and mother, who 
was considered the belle of the place in her girlhood days, while 
his father possessed the physique of a peer of Scotland. It re 
quired but a moment longer to unravel the secret of this brief 
introduction; so, without waiting for any further ceremony, the 
young man sprang into his long-looked-for uncle s arms, and it 
may well be imagined how earnest and affectionate was their 
mutual embrace. Had the young man dropped down out of the 
heavens, it could not have been a greater surprise to his uncle, 
who rubbed his hands and shrugged his shoulders, and gave 
many other manifestations of the great joy he experienced on 
beholding, after the lapse of so many years, the veritable 
" Dandy " of his ideal and idolized sister s heart. Years had 
passed since he had heard anything definite, and these only 
rumors, in regard to " Dandy s " youthful career. He knew that 
he had somehow cut his cable, launched forth into the world, and 
fondly deemed earth, wind, and star his friends, to become the 
architect of his own fortune. But as to the vicissitudes which 
had transpired in his career, and the multifarious freaks of for 
tune which interposed from the visions of childhood to the more 
mature thoughts of adolescence, it was plain to the uncle s mind 
that the dashing young nephew had developed to the full stature 
of a magnificent specimen of the genus homo, dressed in fault 
less style, possessing a physique that would rival an Apollo- 
Belvidere. 

" Where did you come from, and by what conveyance ? " said 
his uncle in expressions of surprise. 

" I came from Jefferson," said he, " and hi my own coach, 
which is at the door. I cannot stay but a few hours, as I am to 
appear at Mechlingburg to-morrow, which is twenty miles from 
here, and I ought to be there by twelve o clock noon." 

By this time all the members of the family were fully awak 
ened, and joined heartily in the family greeting. When the 
street in front of the house was reached by the inmates of the 
parsonage, a sight met their gaze hardly paralleled in the scenes 



REMINISCENCES OF PAN RICE 239 

of the Arabian Xights Entertainment. There, before a royal 
brougham ( ?) bedizzened with an oriflame of tints as gorgeous as 
Guido s aurora, or Elijah s chariot of fire, stood four of as beauti 
ful milk-white Arabian thoroughbreds, richly caparisoned with 
an ornate and elaborate solid gold mounted harness as ever 
graced the royal equerry of King Solomon s court. On the 
front sat a proudly-dressed colored Jehu holding the ribbons, 
four in hand; on the rear sat a liveried footman, draped after the 
custom of his order, lending to the tout ensemble a strikingly 
picturesque air. Expressions of admiration and surprise from 
all the members of the household followed in rapid succession, 
while directions w r ere given to the grooms to carefully house the 
unique equipage. Suitable lodgings were also provided for the 
various attaches. It was well into the w^ee small hours before the 
studious disciple of the " Fellow of Lincoln College " exhausted 
himself of questions necessary to solve the meaning of such an 
elaborate turnout. Briefly running over a few years of his later 
life, " Dandy " entertained the family with hints only of his 
chequered but romantic career, which, in effect, possessed all the 
charms of a fairy tale. The particulars, however, of this portion 
of our story must be reserved for the future. 



JOHN B. DORIS REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE. 

" I can see back thirty-six years as though it were but yester 
day," said Mr. Doris. " My first visit to Washington was in 
1863, as an agent for the old Dan Rice show. He played that 
season down on Four-and-a-half Street, near the Avenue. Within 
a stone s throw was the government reservation, afterward trans 
formed by the landscape artist into one of the most picturesque 
parks in the world. Four-and-a-half Street wasn t a very swell 
neighborhood at that time. It was low, damp, malaria-breeding, 
and from the door of our tent I could see for blocks over a vast 
expanse of mud and lowland. But Colonel Shepherd, the Michael 
Angelo of Washington, came later on and gave the nation a city 
fit for location in the corner of a star. Dan Rice was, of course, 
the reigning attraction in those days. 

" We played here a week in 1863, and President Lincoln and 
his wife were among our distinguished callers. The President 
was a personal friend of Rice, and came around to Dan s dressing- 
room after the performance and recalled Dan s barnstorming 
tours through Illinois in the fifties. 

" Mr. Rice never tired of recalling that visit of the martyred 
President; of how the great man tossed aside all austerities and 
decorum and sat on the edge of a huge trunk, his long legs 



240 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

entwined, his knees in his hands, and his high, flat-rimmed tile 
on an angle, as he chatted, laughed, and cracked a batch of favor 
ite gags. We played Washington every season from 1863 to the 
early seventies. In 1867, we rented a lot near the Baltimore 
and Potomac Station, on Sixth Street. That was my first year 
with the Forepaugh show. In the early sixties Eice was under 
the management of Spaulding & Rogers, who made a fortune 
in the fifties on the Mississippi River with their boat shows. They 
had a floating circus, and played the town along the levees. The 
ring was pitched in the middle of the boat, and the performance 
consisted of trained dogs and horses and the old clown specialties. 
Spaulding left an enormous fortune, and his son, Col. Charles 
Spaulding, the owner of the Olympic Theatre, and a million 
dollars worth of property in St. Louis, is the wealthiest theatre 
proprietor in America, though few, even among theatrical people, 
are aware of that fact. 

" Dan Rice signed a contract for a long term of years with the 
Forepaugh show at a salary of $25,000 per year. The younger 
generation of theatre-goers who hear their daddies and mommers 
rave over Dan Rice have but a hazy idea of the talents of this 
great genius of the sawdust ring. 

" Rice was a man of versatile talents and a fine mind, deeply 
read in everything, from the classics to the latest political and 
sporting events. To be sure, he depended first of all on his suc 
cess as a clown, but he wasn t the sort of conventional clown we 
see in the circus to-day. Rice was a talking clown or jester, a 
sort of Touchstone with eloquence, wit, poesy, and mirth, the 
originator of all his quips and sayings. 

" It required an actor of no mean ability to produce the enter 
tainment provided by Rice. His artistic Touchstone style of the 
clown was never equalled before or since. The Rice clown died 
with his retirement and gave way to the hybrid species of the 
buffoon. This buffoonery replaced the legitimate jester of the 
Rice type and the clown of to-day is merely an incident of a 
circus, a filler-in on the programme, a fickle shadow of the bril 
liant substance of the Rice days. But Rice s talents were not 
confined to the clown specialty. He was a trainer of animals, 
horses being his specialty. His trained horse, Excelsior, was 
one of the most intelligent animals that ever bowed to the beck 
of its master. Excelsior was as blind as a bat. Certain words 
from his master meant certain -tricks. The feat of training a 
blind horse was regarded as a sensation in those days and would, 
be just as much of a sensation to-day, for that matter. Rice s 
trick stallion, Stephen A. Douglas, a graceful Arabian steed, was 
another of Rice s pet trick animals, and he was almost as big a 
favorite with the public as old Excelsior." 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 



DAN RICE TO THE FORE. 
CHECKERED CAREER OF THE MAN. 

BY JOHN A. COCKERILL,. 

Eighty years have sped along since he first saw the light of 
day. In the earlier years of his career Dan Rice was one of the 
best-known characters in America, and he was a sort of model 
for the boys and girls who flocked to see his show.- 

Wealth rolled in his coffers and the great showman-clown was 
believed to be a millionaire. He was extravagant in his habits, 
and, like many men who possessed a much greater share of edu 
cational and refining influences, he could not stand prosperity 
and gradually he ran down the grade and was lost to public view, 
bearing the fatal stamp that to him his life was a failure. About 
a year ago many friends who had a pleasant recollection of his 
former years of prosperity, and sympathizing with the veteran 
clown in his declining years of adversity, inaugurated a testi 
monial benefit at the Union Square Theatre, and thus raised a 
substantial sum of money, which placed the old man above imme 
diate want. 

Formerly Uncle Dan made his headquarters in New York, 
and with his faithful wife found a home in the Everett House, 
where Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and other noted men fre 
quently have enjoyed all the comforts of home. The old clown 
felt an irrepressible desire for a long time to return to the scenes 
of his first love and earlier triumphs, and expressed a hope that 
he might, like Richards, at least die with harness upon his back. 
Some of his ancient friends and zealous admirers extended en 
couragement to him by drawing painful pictures of the strong 
contrast between the clowns of to-day with the unique and origi 
nal character he portrayed. 

SKETCH OF THE OLD SHOWMAN". 

Dan Rice s real name was Daniel McLaren. When a lad he 
was a stable-boy on various race-tracks and was known as " Dusty 
Dan." He was agile and acrobatic and became an acrobat, with 
wonderful energy and amazing physical strength. It was not 
remarkable, with such training and early surroundings, that his 
physical prowess should lead him into the roped arena, and in 
1828 it is recorded that the Pennsylvania Legislature adjourned 
to witness a sparring exhibition between Kensett, the John L. 
Sullivan of the day, and young Dan Rice, as he was known then. 
16 



212 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

He was a strapping fellow of twenty, and by this event Uncle 
Dan s age at present is fixed among the eighties. 

Shortly after this fistie encounter, Dan, who was possessed 
largely with the gift of gab, began his career as a clown. He 
modelled his work after Wallett, a famous English jester, and 
speedily took front rank as a wit in the West and Southwest, his 
earliest fields of conquest. His popularity became so great that 
he started a show of his own with a wonderfully trained pure 
white stallion christened Excelsior, and rival managers used this 
feature to refer to him as running " a one-horse show." The 
horse was a winner, however, and proved to be such a success that 
when Excelsior died another horse much like him and bearing 
the same name soon supplied his place. Rice in those days was 
an eloquent stump orator, and when his show reached a small 
town he would harangue the populace from the balcony of a small 
tavern while the circus was being filled up, and at its conclusion 
he would extend a cordial invitation to his hearers to visit " Dan 
Rice s Great and Only Show." 



A PUBLIC BENEFACTOR, TOO. 

Not only as a clown, but as a benefactor, was Dan Rice known 
in his early days. He built an iron fence around one of the 
parks in New Orleans, made generous donations to building 
schoolhouses, churches, orphan asylums, and market-houses, and 
often made the small boys happy by scattering a handful of shin 
ing coins among them while his procession was moving along the 
streets. 

Once he landed in jail in Albany. The " Whip," a virulent 
paper published at the capital by George Jones, late of the New 
York " Times," and edited by the late Hugh Hastings, attacked 
Dan, and he employed its author, Chester Clarence Moore, the 
author of " The Night Before Christmas," to respond in an at 
tack upon the late Dr. Spaulding. Dan was arrested for libel 
and was thrown into the " Blue Eagle Jail." Spaul ding s son 
Charles, of St. Louis, and Rice joined fortunes years afterwards 
and the show was taken to Paris, but the law was evoked for 
bidding the erection of frame buildings and the venture was a 
failure. In this city, during the year of the International Fair, 
he became involved pecuniarily and unable to keep engagements 
elsewhere; he hit upon a happy expedient by placarding the 
fences of Philadelphia with big posters, reading, " Dan Rice 
Can t Get Away." The late Avery Smith was pleased with the 
wit of the clown and loaned to him sufficient money to take him 
to the Quaker City. 



CES OF DAN RICE 
DILEMMA DURING THE WAR. 

When the Civil War broke out Dan was on a steamboat bound 
for Mobile, but he presented his show under the Stars and Bars, 
and on his return North made amends for this indiscretion by 
sending the Stars and Stripes to the breeze and subsequently 
erecting a handsome monument in Erie, Pa., dedicated " To the 
memory of the soldiers of Erie County who fell in the defence of 
their country erected by Col. Dan Rice. 7 During one of the 
Presidential campaigns in this city Dan had banners flung across 
Broadway reading: 



FOR PRESIDENT, 
COL. DAN RICE, 

OP 

PENNSYLVANIA. 



His agents laughed at it and made an advertising scheme of 
it, but the ageing showman entertained the matter seriously, and 
politics turned his head. His show w r as a failure, and Dan tried 
hard to be sent to Congress from one of the Pennsylvania dis 
tricts, but failed. In 1865 Forepaugh paid him $25,000 a year 
to join his show, and during the seasons of 1866 and 1867 he re 
ceived $27,500 a year, the largest salary ever paid to a circus 
clown. 

KNEW DAN RICE. 

MRS. HEMMINGS 7 TALK OF THE OLD CLOWN WHO HAS JUST 
DIED WAS POPULAR AMONG CIRCUS PROFESSION AS 
WELL AS THE PUBLIC. 

The death of Dan Rice, clown, circus owner, the forerunner of 
P. T. Barnum, recalls to one Philadelphia family in particular 
the career of one of the most remarkable men in his line that 
ever catered to the amusements of the public. Richard Hem- 
mings, of 656 North Tenth Street, who, in the sixties, was the 
part owner of the Hemmings & Cooper Circus, paid Dan Rice in 
the season of 1867, $21,500, which was a salary of $1,000 a week. 
According to the recollections also of the "earlier inhabitants" 
of this city, Dan Rice gave full equivalent to the public in so far 
that he furnished fun by the wholesale. 



244 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Mr. Hemmings is in Baltimore at present attending the great 
Elk meeting, but Mrs. Hemmings, who was one of the Whitby 
family, equestrian performers, in those golden days of the circus 
ring, is intimately acquainted with the life history of Dan Eice. 
Mrs. Hemmings, already as a child performer, looked upon Eice 
as the greatest circus man then alive, and her reminiscences of 
him would fill a volume. 

It seems a long, long while ago when the name of Dan ]ice 
became known to me. I remember distinctly, however, how the 
country went wild over Eice s antics in the sawdust ring. The 
older residents of this city should recall easily how he made them 
shake with laughter. His history, of course, it is not for me to 
recount here, but from a personal standpoint, and that of my 
husband, who was his employer once, w T e had much to do with 
Eice. How he lost his fortune, reformed his ways, and again Lost 
his all, will some day become part of circus history. Two years 
ago he called on us and stayed over night at the house. He was, 
of course, not the same Dan Eice who used to amuse the public 
and his fellow-performers alike. But there was enough of the 
old favorite about him to make the visit one we shall long 
remember. 



KICE AS AN ARTIST AND A GENTLEMAN. 

BY PARK BENJAMIN. 

One who knew the illustrious Dan only when rigged out in his 
motley suit and parti-colored garments, would hardly recognize 
this quiet and gentlemanly looking personage on Broadway to be 
one and the same. Dan Eice is a New Yorker born and bred. 
But years have elapsed since he first shone like a meteor in the 
ring, when his rollicking wit and contagious humor and wanton 
wiles set the whole audience in a roar. We have seen a great 
many attempts of fun in our day, but never one who seemed to 
be possessed of so genuine a spirit of frolic, with so capital and 
quick an apprehension of the humorous, with a more certain 
power of controlling his hearers as if by the influence of animal 
magnetism. If he goes on as he has begun, studying his art and 
endeavoring to excel in it, the biography of the stage or circus 
will present no more successful jester. He will surpass even the 
renowned Joseph Grimaldi, whose memoirs employed the piquant 
pen of Charles Dickens through two very considerable volumes. 
There is a good-looking sobriety and placid composure in Dan s 
countenance, which are hardly consistent with one s ideas of the 
character of a clown. But we can assure our readers that Mr. 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 245 

Eice is a very respectable man in private life, of irreproachable 
morals, undeviating propriety of conduct, gifted with feelings of 
kindness, courtesy, and benevolence. He does not imagine, like 
too many of his profession, he has a license of behavior because 
he is a showman, but thinks that every calling can be rendered 
honorable by the honor of him who follows it. 

Just after Du Chaillu departed I met Dan Rice, and felt about 
twenty years younger in a moment, for while I was a small boy, 
Dan was the most famous clown in the world, and a bigger man 
in my eyes than the President of the United States and all the 
crowned heads of Europe combined. I recalled a terrible strug 
gle within my little self in an Illinois town as to whether I 
should go to the circus to see Dan Rice or hang about the hotel 
to see Abe Lincoln. I got out of it by learning that Lincoln 
himself had gone to the circus, as every one but the preachers 
did in those days. Dan is about three-score-and-ten, but looks 
not a year past sixty, and is loaded to the muzzle with good 
stories, which he fires off with hair-trigger quickness. He has 
put many of his recollections in a book, soon to be published, 
of which he has high hopes. It is dangerously funny, two men 
already having laughed themselves to death over the opening 
pages, but he thinks, perhaps, the victims had some unsuspected 
organic weakness before they began. Dan was one of the few 
showmen who were bigger than their business. During the Civil 
War he used to make patriotic speeches at each of his perform 
ances and they were full of soul and sense. He subscribed liber 
ally for many patriotic purposes during the war, and for soldiers 
monuments afterwards. He also did some effective religious 
exhorting and turned an intimate acquaintance with John Bar 
leycorn to good purpose by lecturing on temperance, in which he 
is still a firm believer, although admitting that there are notable 
exceptions to the advisability of total abstinence. He said to me: 
" Drink is very bad for most men, but I can t learn of a really 
great man in the world who doesn t take his occasional tod and 
have to do it." Anonymous N. Y. Letter to Chicago " Tribune." 



RICE S PERSONALITY. 

BY DR. FREDERICK VALENTINE. 

My first personal interview with Dan Rice cost me jut $50.25 
and I do not regret it. He came to my little den on the 18th day 
of October, 1893, with a card of introduction from a mutual 
friend a very charming mutual friend I may say he came to 



24:6 KEM1NISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

remain but a few minutes and these he wished to cut short be 
cause he saw how busy I was. 

The minutes grew to hours, that yet seemed seconds. This 
grand old juvenile who has lightened so many hearts in his bluff, 
cordial manner, whose charities are none the less splendid be 
cause he kept them secret, whose bonhomie and cheerfulness 
make his seventy-one years of life a simile of the perpetual 
youth Ponce de Leon did not find, drove to oblivion the cares and 
troubles that weigh heavily upon us all. He mellowed by his 
mere presence, by his perennial wit, by his impregnable buoyancy, 
the very atmosphere, so that my engagements for the day, which 
would have paid me fifty dollars, were forgotten. He augmented 
the expense by smoking a cigar that cost me twenty-five cents at 
wholesale, and, irrepressible entertainer that he is, he consumed 
a wealth of matches. His jokes were numerous, the cigar con 
tinually went out. 

He is the only man I ever met who can use the personal I with 
out appearing egotistical. He has the modesty which is an essen 
tial to greatness. 

Our conversation was barely finished when he clapped one of 
his vigorous hands upon my shoulder and exclaimed: " Val, my 
biography must be written and you are the culprit to do it! " 

It was said in the manner, in the voice, and in the facetious 
earnestness with which erstwhile he made his bow in the circus 
ring. 

So this, without the spangles and the paint, this in the sober 
ness of real life was the great clown no, " jester." His every 
action made me a boy again wishing the old tent were nearby, 
so that with throbbing heart I might hear the blare of the band 
and, if I had not the quarter to purchase admission, might steal 
my way in, to where the very air was redolent with Dan Eice s 
jokes and sawdust. 

Who could refuse the offer, who could decline the honor of 
endeavoring to make all the world young again by recording the 
reminiscences of this boy this hearty, great, good-natured boy, 
though he has seen seventy-one summers? 

" But I warn you, old man/ he said, " you will be the seventh 
who undertakes the task." 

"The seventh?" Tasked. 

" Yes, the first died, the second broke his leg, the third lost 
his mother-in-law and went crazy with joy, the fourth caught 
consumption, the fifth gave it up as a hopeless job, the sixth 
merely copied some of my incoherent manuscript and got a hun 
dred dollars out of me which I blush to confess. So if you 
take your life into your hands, you must have it insured before 
you begin the work." 




JOHN KOBLXSON 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 247 

Men have insured and lost their lives in less worthy causes. 

In accepting the appointment to record Dan Eice s reminis 
cences and jot down some of the things about him which he has 
not told me, I deplore that cold type is inadequate to reflect his 
inimitable manner, his strong, mobile features, the silver sheen 
of his hair and beard, white as the driven snow nothing of the 
remarkable vitality of this great-grandfather, who will in memory 
stand as the prototype of " Chidner, the ever youthful." To 
paraphrase the author, 

" Dan Rice stand immer an diesem Ort 
Und wird so stehen ewig fort." 



THE RECOLLECTIONS OF A VETERAN. 

INTERESTING REMINISCENCES OF THE DAYS OF THE ONE 
HORSE SHOW. 

Uncle Dan Rice, the veteran showman and clown, entertained 
quite a coterie of old friends and acquaintances at the Emmitt 
House yesterday afternoon. At the conclusion of his lecture, 
which seemed to be vastly appreciated by the audience, a " Daily 
Xews " representative sought and obtained an interview with 
him. Seated in the reading-room of the above-mentioned hos 
telry, a very pleasing hour was spent in chatting with the veteran 
of the sawdust arena, probably the most popular and original 
man that ever donned the motley garb, and made jocund the 
rural heart with genial quips and jests. Although placarded and 
billed generally as the " Clown of our Daddies," and from the 
familiarity and notoriety attached to his name, Mr. Rice is not 
a Methuselah as might be supposed by many. His May of life 
has not fallen into the seer, the yellow leaf, as Mr. Macbeth re 
marked of himself, to any considerable degree. To our repre 
sentative he appeared like a well-preserved gentleman, slightly 
this side of his sixtieth -milestone on the journey of life. He is 
stoutly built, of a good figure, and from his philosophical and 
contented appearance, the reporter came to the conclusion that 
he was comfortably lined with good Emmit House capon. A 
shrewd, kindly, weather-beaten face, ornamented by a snowy 
beard dependent from his chin, beamed above a billowy expanse 
of white vest. When he opened the floodgates of mind and mem 
ory, the talk flowed incessantly, and was frequently enlivened by 
a ripple like a dash of epigram or satire. As he had just stated in 
his lecture that he used to be a frequent visitor to Chillicothe, 
the reporter asked him when he last came here. He replied that 



248 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

he believed it was in 1864, when he gave an exhibition on the old 
Campbell lot. " I have been all around here since, but haven t 
touched Chillicothe or Circleville, which used to be a nice little 
town. I travelled by canal then, and had my one-horse show. 
There were only two asistants in my business then. One was 
Jim O Connell, the tattooed man, and the very best performer 
in his way I ever saw. The other was Jean Johnson, who did 
song and dance and negro business. Johnson is now in Cincin 
nati, a broken-down wreck. Poor O Connell is under the daisies. 
He used to do an egg dance and other surprising feats, and got 
off a thrilling account of his adventures in the Fiji Islands, 
where he pretended to have been tattooed. His last request was 
unique, and in accordance with it, after he was committed to the 
earth, my band played a lively tune, and Johnson danced a horn 
pipe over his grave. These two boys, with the band, myself as 
clown, with songs and introduction of the horse, made up a better 
show, I believe, and gave more genuine entertainment, than a 
great many of the more pretentious ones nowadays." " The 
war had a rather depressing effect upon the business, did it not? " 
queried the reporter. " Bless you, no; why we fattened on our 
country s calamities. The greenbacks were plentiful then, and 
I made more money than I ever did before in my life. John 
Morgan ruined several circuses, and caught me out in Indiana, 
getting away with eight of my horses. I knew him and went 
straight to his quarters and told my doleful tale. He immedi 
ately wrote out an order and sent a man with me to redeem my 
property. You see, Dan/ he explained, the boys were out 
foraging, and they are no respecters of persons/ He was a gal 
lant fellow. That was the only difficulty of that kind that I ever 
encountered, and you see I got out of that very nicely." In re 
sponse to another question, Uncle Dan said: "I have been a 
clown over forty-one years, and I propose to remain in the harness 
until the last. I am organizing now in Cincinnati, and preparing 
to start out upon the road again next season. These lectures 
that I deliver are a little side play, I can t abide idleness, and 
must be doing something. I would die if I could not be em 
ployed at some kind of work. The political excitement is too 
strong now to make any kind of an exhibition profitable. I am 
an old-time Whig and am not greatly interested which way the 
tide turns; I believe in country above all parties. I shall return 
to Chillicothe and deliver a lecture which will be a continuation 
of the one given to-night. The theme is endless and boundless, 
and the beauty of it is that you can talk about anything. " The 
Daily News," Chillicothe, 0., November 10, 1884. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 249 

TRIBUTES. 
DAN RICE, CLOWN, DEAD. 

HIS DEATH AT LONG BRANCH DUE TO BRIGHT^S DISEASE 
CAREER OF THE FAMOUS RING JOKER WHO BEGAN LIFE 
AS A STABLE BOY AND MADE AND LOST THREE FOR 
TUNES HIS EDUCATION IN SHAKESPEARE HIS NAME 

WAS MCLAREN. 

LONG BRANCH, X. J., Feb. 22. Dan Rice, the veteran clown, 
died to-night at seven o clock after a lingering illness. He was 
seventy-seven years old. Mr. Rice suffered from Bright s dis 
ease and dropsy, but he had been able to go out for a drive until 
a week ago, when he took to his bed. At the time of his last 
illness he was writing a book on his life. He had about com 
pleted the closing chapter. 

Dan Rice s real name was Daniel McLaren. He was born in 
Xew York City. His father, Daniel McLaren, nicknamed the 
boy Dan Rice, after a famous clown in Ireland. After his 
father s death his mother married a man named Manahan, who 
had a dairy near Freehold, Monmouth County, N". J., and Dan, 
when a small boy, delivered milk to his stepfather s customers. 
His sister Elizabeth married Jacob Showles, a circus rider, who 
resides at Long Branch, N. J. Dan, weary of the milk route, 
struck out for himself when young and made his way to Pitts- 
burg, where he was successively stable-boy, race-rider, and hack 
driver. After a little time, under the name of Dan Rice, he 
achieved prominence, if not exactly fame, as the owner and ex 
hibitor of a learned pig, with which he and a man named Lindsay 
travelled through Pennsylvania and neighboring States. Rice 
and Lindsay sang songs and danced, but-the pig was the principal 
attraction. 

Old friends of Dan relate that the death of the star performer 
broke up the show and he drifted out to Naucoo, 111., where the 
Mormons then were under Joseph Smith s leadership, and re 
mained with them for a time. He returned to Pittsburg and 
went to hack driving again. He married there his first wife, 
and came to New York in 1844, making here his first appearance 
as a clown and negro song and dance performer with Dr. Spauld- 
ing s company in the Old Bowery Amphitheatre, then under the 
management of John Tryon. In the company with him at that 
time were Barney Williams, Dan Emmett, Dan Gardner, Frank 
W. Whittaker and others whose names have since attained wide 
celebrity on the stage and in the ring. 



250 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

In the season of 1845 Dan travelled with Seth B. Howe s 
Circus. Seth B. Howe was a brother of Nathan Howe, one of 
the old " flat-foot combination/ which started the famous 
Zoological Institute at 37 Bowery. He billed and advertised 
Dan Rice more extensively than any clown ever was advertised 
before in this country. One of his advertising dodges was to 
supply Dan with a special carriage and horses to take him 
through the country. In the winter of 1845-40 Dan made his 
first appearance in Philadelphia in Gen. Rufus Welch s National 
Amphitheatre, which was then at the corner of Ninth and Chest 
nut Streets, on the site now occupied by the Continental Hotel. 
At that time he was simply a good " rough knock-about clown/ 
in the phraseology of the ring, not quick to catch points on the 
audience from the ringmaster, and innocent of any knowledge 
of Shakespeare. He tried successively Nicholas Johnson and 
Ben Young, both actors, and Horace Nichols and somebody else, 
in the capacity of ringmaster, yet could not make a hit with 
either. Finally he got Frank \\. Whittaker, who was at the time 
master of the ring for other clowns in the same show, assigned to 
him, and on his first night made a hit, on business suggested 
by Whittaker, which carried him into instant popularity with 
Philadelphia audiences. 

That hit cost Sandy Jamieson, leader of the orchestra, a new 
violin, for the part of the funny business consisted in Dan s 
tumbling Frank headlong among the orchestra. 

During the summer of 184:0 Rice was a clown with \Yelch s 
travelling show in Canada, and in the succeeding year he went to 
New r Orleans, with his first manager, Dr. Spaulding. At this 
time, it is said, Mr. Van Orden, a brother-in-law of Dr. Spauld 
ing, took a liking to Dan and urged him to much-needed mental 
improvement, supplying him with Shakespeare, Byron, and other 
dramatic and poetic works, aiding him in making from them the 
selections on which he subsequently became known as a " Shakes 
pearean clown," and encouraging him in study, not only for his 
professional purposes but for the acquisition of general knowl 
edge. Mr. Van Orden also wrote a number of Rice s most popu 
lar songs. After a season or two Rice obtained an interest with 
Dr. Spaulding and that connection was kept up until about 1850, 
when they separated. In 1853, in consequence of some legal 
proceedings institued by Spaulding for recovery of payment for 
a show with which he had fitted Rice out a couple of years before, 
Rice lost a handsome farm which he had acquired in Columbia 
County, N. Y. Shortly after that Dan bought a homestead in 
Girard, Pa., and a fine farm two or three miles from that town, 
where he sheltered his show in the winter. 

By 1850 he had so far recovered from the disaster which fol- 



BEMIXISCENCES OF DAN RICE 251 

lowed the severance of his connection with Spaulding that he 
was deemed a wealthy man and certainly was a popular one 
wherever he travelled. For he was a genial, whole-souled fellow, 
kind and generous, seeming to think nothing of riches more than 
as a means to promote the happiness of all around him. Fortune 
smiled upon him steadily up to 1800, when there was a separation 
between him and his wife. Old snowmen said: " Dan lost his 
luck when he parted from her." 

She was spoken of as a noble woman, who by gentle methods 
supplied Dan with the guidance which he needed. She had 
never been a professional before her marriage, but he taught her 
a " manege act," which she continued to do up to the time of 
their separation. Her daughter Elizabeth became the wife of 
Charles Reed, a celebrated pad rider. The daughter Catherine 
married and lived in Girard, Pa., with her mother. Soon after 
her divorce, Mrs. Rice married Charles Warren, Rice s treasurer, 
who had acted as agent between husband and wife in the negotia 
tions preceding the divorce, and the couple rejoined the show, 
he proposing to continue to act as treasurer and she to continue 
her riding, but after a short time both places were vacant. 

In the early part of I860 Rice s show journeyed by wagons 
from the East to St. Louis, where a steamboat was bought for the 
transportation of the company through the rivers and bayous 
of the South. It is related that at about that time Charles Reed 
and Julian Kent were apprentices with Dan Rice and he required 
them under all circumstances on Sunday to read to him from one 
to three chapters of the Bible, an eccentricity akin to that which 
prompted him to build meeting-houses for the colored people 
down South. He is said to have built half a dozen meeting 
houses. From I860 to 1862 he was in the South. The story 
got afloat in the Xorth that Dan had bloomed out as a rampant 
rebel, and when he appeared in the Walnut Street Theatre, Phila 
delphia, in the winter of 1862-63, he met with a very hostile 
reception. 

When the supposed rebel appeared in the ring there was a 
crowded house to greet him with a tornado of hisses, groans, yells 
of "secessionist," " Johnny Reb," and suggestions that he should 
be shot or hanged. Fortunately for himself he had the courage 
to stand up in the ring and face his accusers until they were 
weary of shouting. Then he told them that he was and always 
had been a Union man, that his home and interests were North 
ern, but that he could not get out of the Confederacy sooner or 
otherwise than he did, and that he had done nothing that he 
deemed deserved any apology. His manliness, even more than 
his words, won for him new consideration, but though there was 
no longer any idea of mobbing him, enough doubt was left in 



252 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

many minds to cast a shadow over his popularity. In 18G3 hl.s 
show, after a disastrous season, went to pieces and most of it was 
sold for debt. Out of the wreck he saved his famous trick horse 
Excelsior and his pair of trained Burmese cattle. He was the 
first man who ever trained and introduced in the ring a perform 
ing rhinoceros. In 18(>i a contract for two seasons was made 
with Forepaugh, by which Eice received for his services as a 
clown and for the services of his trained horse and cattle $35,000 
for each season. In I860 he got $1,000 per week through the 
season as clown with John O Brien, and for a season of twenty- 
six weeks in 1867 he received $21,500 from Gardner, Hemmings 
& Cooper s Circus. 

From that time on his star seemed to be steadily waning. His 
property at Girard was swept away by the foreclosure of a mort 
gage. He had married again. His second wife, the daughter of 
a banker in Girard, owned a considerable amount of property in 
her own right, but Eice was ruined. Disappointment seemed 
to embitter him and his habits grew worse, but he kept in the 
ring as clown each season with young circus men. In 1881 he 
was out with Will Stow, under the firm name of Rice & Stow, 
but the partnership was dissolved by his enforced retirement 
before the close of the season. Some years ago he struck an oil 
well on his wife s property in Girard, put up a derrick, set a drill 
at work, organized a stock company and sold stock to Avery 
Smith, Seth B. Howe, and J. J. Nathans and other " old-timers " 
of the circus business, but it was soon ascertained that there was 
not a pint of petroleum within a hundred miles of the well. 

In 1878 Dan Eice reformed in St. Louis, and afterward de 
livered temperance lectures, occasionally slipping back into old 
paths. Forepaugh once said that he would let Dan Eice fix his 
own terms for a season in California if he would engage to keep 
sober the season through, but the offer was refused. In 1879 
Nathans, June & Bailey telegraphed to Dan, in Girard, that they 
would pay him his own price as a clown for four weeks in this 
city, if he would permit his salary to stand until the conclusion 
of his engagement as a bond for his sobriety. He refused the 
offer, saying that he would rather have a hundred dollars a week 
and liberty to do as he pleased than any terms on such conditions. 

In Girard at one time he ran a newspaper called the " Cosmo 
polite." He sought election to Congress in 1879 from that dis 
trict, but failed to get it. When wealthy he gave away great 
sums of money to public institutions in that part of the country, 
and still more, it is said, in private charities. He built a sol 
diers monument said to have cost $35,000. Yet, as an old show 
man and friend of his said, there were long years in which Eice 
could not borrow five dollars in Girard if he wanted it. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 253 

During the war General Fremont seized a steamer Rice owned, 
the " James Raymond," at St. Louis, and made use of it for Gov 
ernment purposes. Rice applied to the Government for com 
pensation and $33,000 damages was awarded him. At his re 
quest this money was spent by President Lincoln and Secretary 
Stanton caring for wounded soldiers and their families. 

Dan Rice made three fortunes, but died a comparatively poor 
man. He married three times. His third wife survives him. 
She lives in Texas. " Xew York Sun." 



REMINISCENCES. 

PERSONAL WITTY HUMOROUS GRAVE AND GAY LIVELY 
AND SEVERE JOKES JESTS ANECDOTES SATIRES 
SONGS SPEECHES ETC. 

DAX RICE, THE HUMORIST. 

There are reforms in everything mundane. Reforms are the 
first great causes of revolutions, they have been the pioneers in 
the marches of improvement, they have founded new faiths, es 
tablished liberal governments, peopled new countries, crushed 
out feudal systems in the old world, and destroyed illiberal preju 
dices in the new. Reforms are antagonistical to the old fogyism, 
they are the beacon lights of the " good times coming." 

In the latter sixties liberal teachers, a cheap press, and com 
mon schools were not, as to-day, indispensable aids to our exist 
ence. Then good common sense alone actuated every thinking 
man to coolly examine each object presented either for public 
benefit or enjoyment. What was then an intellectual feast de 
generated later into a saturnalia of sensual gratifications. Whilst 
the dark veil of proscription once thrown around the charmed 
circle of the circus arena had not been entirely dispelled by the 
light of liberality, and public amusements regarded as they are 
to-day necessary institutions, affording a healthy relaxation for 
the masses, yet withal a Puritanic spirit of intolerance made it 
self felt to such an extent that for many years a bitter war was 
waged against the vulgar circus of early days, which sought alone 
to gratify a coarse mind at the expense of the intellectual. Colo 
nel Rice at first resented the seemingly bigoted and unjust criti 
cism of the circus world, as a whole, and for a while bore the 
brunt of a. battle which involved him in an interminable tangle of 
criminations and recriminations. Later Uncle Dan saw a new 
light, and, guided by its inspiration, became an ally of the pulpit 
and the press. As a result, reform in circus methods was actively 



25rt REMIXISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 

urged. Colonel Rice s efforts were crowned with success. He 
soon drew an air of refinement around the arena, that in the days 
of the Olympiad was so purely classical., and made it here a place 
where the elite, the profound, the philosopher, the naturalist, and 
the admirer of physical beauty, could resort to for amusement, 
reflection, and instruction. He restored to the people the gains 
of the curriculum, the beauties of chivalry, the taming of wild 
beasts as in the days of ancient Koine, all in all, revolutionized 
the stale and salacious forms of amusement so prevalent in the 
past. The thousands of well-educated, intelligent people, who 
in every section of the country, liberally sustained both the per 
manent and transitory exhibitions, quickly evinced by their lib 
eral patronage Colonel Rice s laudatory efforts to cleanse the 
Augean stables. Questionable by-play, indecent gestures, and 
suggestive jests were no longer tolerated, their places being 
usurped by rollicking but refined humor, repartee, pungent but 
stingless satires and true wit, supplemented by a spectacular 
splendor which had hitherto never been equalled and certainly 
never surpassed. Xo man, therefore, did, between I860 and 
1870, more to bring about this salutary reaction than Dan Rice. 
He made the arena a place of classic resort. The grovelling 
babbler in spotted dress, and the low buffoon were quickly driven 
from the ring, so there is little occasion or wonder why he then 
stood out so proudly and w r on such world-wide fame as the most 
original humorist of his day. 

Dan Rice had a genius for fun. His humors were adapted to 
the times, his hits local, his satire telling, his wit pointed, his 
jokes harmless, and his conversational powers unlimited. As the 
man who tells a good story at the festive board is indispensable 
at a goodly gathering, so is the presence of the King of Jesters 
absolutely required in a Great Show. He was as the central 
figure of the tan-bark circle, the man w r hom, above all, the people 
most admired. With an enviable reputation for integrity of 
character, and a universal fame as the most amusing man of mod 
ern times, his name was a tower of strength. Amongst the upper 
circles of the metropolitan cities, in the villages, towns, and ham 
lets of all this broad domain, Dan Rice wa the magnet of attrac 
tion. Individually he had more personal friends and supporters 
than any artist of his times. 

It seems that sovereignties are never complete without a clown 
in motley. Every court has had its fool and each king its jester 
with cap and bells, the fool usually possessing more wit than his 
master. As it was in ancient times, so it is in these modern days. 
The sovereign people right royally crowned Dan Rice their 
peerless Prince of Jesters. This renowned professor in the Court 
of Momus has been before the public for fifty years. His songs, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 255 

jokes, and drolleries were always free from the vulgarity which 
usually characterizes the sayings of the ring and wholly devoid of 
anything which could oft end the most fastidious. Indeed Dan 
Rice stood alone in the profession he adopted and which he has 
raised far above what it formerly was. His versatility of talent 
was remarkable, and his occasional flashes of genius astonished 
even those who were most intimately acquainted with him. As 
the fancy took him he changed from gay to grave, from the lu 
dicrous to the sublime, from the most pathetic portrayal to the 
most pungent, piercing satire with a marvellous rapidity that 
stamped him as a genius and the premier artist of his generation. 

AXCIENT AND MODERN QUIDDITIES. 

The art of making anecdotes, jokes, puns, and other witticisms 
is of much greater importance than many people are apt to 
imagine. In certain dull seasons of torpid repose, when wars are 
vexatiously rare, and murders seldom occur, and highway robber 
ies are scarcely known, and conflagrations, tornadoes, earth 
quakes, freshets, breaches of marriage contract and Dakota di 
vorce mills are not working overtime to occasionally relieve the 
universal drowsiness,, the exercise of this art is most especially 
requisite. 

The ancients, when tired of recording marvellous things for 
the purpose of exciting astonishment, wisely sought to refresh 
the world with jokes, quips, and quiddities. Merriment was the 
sauce, the catsup, that made more palative the more solid viands. 
Relaxation was found to be of infinite service, it contributed to 
keep people properly in countenance, for after a long stretch of 
the muscles over the miraculously tough tales of Pliny, Livy, 
Plutarch and other wonder-mongers, men s phizes were discov 
ered to be most alarmingly lengthened insomuch that chins 
dropped into waistbands, nether lips were in danger of being 
trodden upon. Whereupon I, Mr. Rice, and other fun-giving 
wags, sought to apply remedies in the form of fable and epigram, 
divers laughter disposing cranks, reflecting like characters or 
charms upon the fearful rigidity and longitudity of aspect, and 
brought back the distant faces of all that were curable to their 
natural expansion of feature. Mouths that form a continual 
application of the terrific and amazing had acquired a monstrous 
prominence towards the centre of gravity, were observed to cor 
rugate into a pleasant horizontal, sometimes even turning up at 
the corners, into a curve from ear to ear; eyes upon whose pro 
tuberant spheres one might have traced the heavens and the earth 
as it were, upon globes celestial and terrestrial, sank comfortably 
into their sockets, guarded and encompassed by the crowfoot of 



256 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

gayety. Thus b} r making a judicious average of horror and mer 
riment the " human face divine " was preserved in due shape, 
the visage of man, like a washed stocking, being useless when 
pulled to its utmost length. 

Three-fourths of the bon-mots, witty sayings, and tart repar 
tees with which the world has been diverted since the days of 
Nebuchanezzar, are fabulous ones made out of whole cloth that 
contains less warp than filling, without foundation, consistency, 
or plausibility. 

An honest, an authentice history of the origin of all genuine 
articles of this sort, and a biography of the inventors of such 
as were manufactured for sport, would be highly amusing at this 
present juncture. Indeed a work of such nature is much needed. 
It might throw such light on the art of making fun, which, to 
certain hard-driven wit-snappers, would be of exceedingly great 
value. 



COLONEL EICE TELLS OF EARLY DAYS OF THE 

CIRCUS. 

THE VETERAN SHOWMAN TELLS OF THE FAKE SPANISH MAN 
OF IRON HIS CANNON BALLS TURNED OUT TO BE IN 
FLATED RUBBER THE GREAT HOODED PYTHON OF THE 
AMAZON AND OTHER FAKES TO FOOL THE UNSUSPECTING 
PUBLIC. 

DAN ATTRIBUTES His EARLY SUCCESS TO A RED-HEADED 

GIRL. 

There are tricks in all trades, and I suppose the circus business 
is included in the category. In all my career I guarded against 
impostures and fraud of all kinds, well knowing that I had a 
reputation to maintain, but in spite of all my strenuous efforts, 
my agents would occasionally trick me, and succeed in cleverly 
humbugging the American public, which, as all showmen know, 
loves to be humbugged. One incident of the kind in particular 
occurs to my mind. 

It was while playing in the Eastern States in the early 50 s, 
that I picked up Bill Turner, who, I am safe in saying, was the 
shrewdest showman I ever saw, but he was unscrupulous. Bill 
was a likely looking young Yankee, smart and active, and quickly 
arose from one position to another until he became assistant man 
ager of my circus. At Newburyport, Mass., Signor Gustivo, the 
Italian Samson, otherwise Bill Smith, of Bennett s Mills, N. J., 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 257 

\vlio had been astonishing circus-goers by his prodigious feats of 
strength., got angry at something and deserted the show. 

That put me in a serious predicament, for he had been widely 
advertised, and I had no one to take his place. It was at that 
juncture that Bill Turner appeared and sought an interview with 
me at my hotel, which ended in my engaging at $100 a week, 
Don Sebastian, the Spanish man of iron, whose specialty was 
toying with large cannon balls. 

Turner was engaged at moderate salary as attendant upon Don 
Sebastian, who was as bright a looking Irishman as I ever saw. 
The engagement began at an afternoon performance, when it 
took four men to carry Sebastian s chest, containing four cannon 
balls, into the ring. The ringmaster announced the performance 
of a few feats of strength and endurance by the strongest man 
in the world, who handled cannon balls of two hundred pounds 
weight as easily as a lady would handle balls of yarn. Sebastian 
picked up the balls from the chest and laid them with a deep, 
dull thud on the platform. Then he placed a ball on each shoul 
der, where he balanced it, while he lightly tossed a third to the 
top of the tent and gracefully caught it in its descent. The audi 
ence went wild over his performance, and manifested their en 
thusiastic appreciation in a tremendous outburst of applause as 
he ran lightly from the ring. I was more than satisfied with his 
success. 

Don Sebastian proved to be one of the strong drawing cards 
of my circus for several weeks, when, to my surprise, I one day 
noticed that when he laid the balls upon the platform the sound 
of their fall did not ring out until a suspiciously long time after 
wards. I at once realized that there was some fraud concealed in 
the strong man s performance; therefore the unrivalled reputa 
tion of my circus was at stake, and so at once quietly began an 
investigation, with the result that the Spanish Iron man was sat 
isfactorily proven to be a rank fraud. 

The cannon balls proved to be made of rubber and were in 
flated with air like footballs. The dull, deep thud which re 
sounded when the balls touched the platform was made with a 
heavy hammer in the hands of an accomplice behind the curtain. 
I felt outraged at the deception and sorry for the duped public, 
and hauled Turner vigorously over the coals, while Don Sebas 
tian was reduced in rank and made a candy butcher. 

Had I known that Turner was a party to the deception, I would 
have immediately discharged him. In view of subsequent events 
I concluded that Turner was the leader in the iron-man fraud. 
Upon entering a Kentucky town, after a few days absence from 
the show, I found one of our most extensively advertised attrac 
tions to be the " Great Hooded Python of the Amazon, 38 feet 
17 



258 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

in length. The only specimen in captivity." It was further 
represented that so powerful and venomous was this reptile, it 
was necessary to keep the monster constantly under the influence 
of opiates. Upon entering the circus I found a great crowd of 
people viewing the python, which was coiled in apparently deep 
slumber in a glass-enclosed cage. It was a great loathsome rep 
tile, eight inches through. Turner satisfactorily accounted for 
its presence, and it drew crowds until I accidentally discovered 
that it was cleverly made of linsey woolsey and stuffed with saw 
dust. 

In calmly looking back over the years I can plainly see that 
Bill Turner lacked conscientious scruples. There was the in 
ebriate bear, for instance. That was his contrivance. It was 
somewhere in the South that such a creature was exhibited and 
lavishly advertised as " A great animated temperence lecture, 
approved by pulpit and press." I saw the attraction. It was a 
black bear that at every performance waddled into the ring and 
drank copiously from a large bottle of cheap whiskey until thor 
oughly intoxicated, when it would ludicrously stagger back to its 
cage. One day I was horrified to hear the drunken bear burst 
out with a torrent of profanity, which was followed by the 
maudlin singing of " Landlord, Fill the Flowing Bowl," while 
the disgusting creature was led to a cage behind the curtain. I 
humbly apologized to the audience and said that there was no 
accounting for the work of whiskey. 

Without delay I went behind the curtain, stripped the bear 
skin from the insulting drunkard, and gave Fen Dole, a canvas- 
man, the worst licking of his life for his part in the most out 
rageous fraud ever perpetrated upon an unsuspecting and gulli 
ble public. And the matter didn t end there, for the newspapers 
got hold of the affair and vigorously denounced me, and that was 
the first stain ever cast upon my character as a moral showman. 

I subsequently discharged him. He wandered to the West 
and became a missionary or something or other among the 
Indians. It took me some time to recover from the ill-effects 
of the inebriate bear episode, which was one of the best-paying 
attractions I ever had on the road. It was a pity that to me was 
attached the blame of foxy Bill Turner s imposture. But I got 
a lot of free advertising from it, whether profitable or un 
profitable. 

You may not know it, but there are hoodoos in the circus busi 
ness as well as in other lines of trade. The only difficulty is to 
be able to know what the hoodoo is and get rid of it. I remem 
ber once old John Robinson s circus constantly lost money on the 
Central States circuit, where two seasons before it had made an 
unusually successful tour. Old man John couldn t understand 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 259 

it, but finally concluded that it could not be among the mem 
bers of his staff, neither was it one of the performers, for every 
one on that side of the circus had been with him the season 
before, which was one of unequalled prosperity. In perplexity 
he began to reorganize the other parts of his concern, and new- 
hands were discharged by the wholesale. At last he discovered 
the hoodoo. It was a side-show lecturer, who always wore an 
alarmingly red necktie. As soon as the lecturer was discharged 
the circus prospered. 

Phineas T. Barnum one season had a hoodoo that stayed with 
him until his employer was well-nigh ruined before he was dis 
covered and discharged. In that instance the Jonah was a very 
clever plate-spinner. The trouble with the hoodoo is that he 
does not imagine the ill-effects of his mere presence in the circus. 
Adam Forepaugh s worst hoodoo was a cross-eyed candy butcher, 
and his great circus had very bad luck until the vender of sweet 
meats was discharged. John O Brien s hoodoo was a sweet-faced, 
soft-spoken lady performer, who brought him mighty bad luck 
until he released her. Old Van Amburg made barrels of money 
and prospered travelling through the country with Scriptural 
mottoes painted upon his wagons, but all that changed as soon as 
he employed a peg-legged colored cook. His ticket-wagon re 
ceipts at once fell off amazingly, there was bad luck in the ring, 
constant desertions from his company, and several valuable ani 
mals died. 

I am perfectly familiar with the history of the noted death- 
dealing elephant Romeo, who killed three keepers before being 
brought to this country, where he succeeded in killing four more. 
Eomeo was never anything else than a money-maker and a devil 
on four legs. In his day he was the greatest drawing card a 
circus or travelling menagerie could possibly have. Why, the 
first clergyman I ever saw visit a circus went solely for the pur 
pose of seeing the notorious man-slayer. Nearly every circus 
proprietor in the country was eager to get possession of that ele 
phant and anxiously endeavored to buy him, for his value as an 
advertisement was something enormous. I opened my dicker for 
him at $25,000, but others raised it until the animal was finally 
sold for $47,500. 

Now, a red-headed girl or lady in the company is always said 
to bring luck to the circus. Call it auburn hair, if you prefer, 
but the redder her hair, especially if she be a performer, the bet 
ter the luck the little lurid locks will bring. I have had them 
more than once in my circus, and so know whereof I speak. I 
recall one in particular, Mile. Germaine de Greville, otherwise 
Eliza Butcher, of Ohio. When she joined my company, business 
at once began to boom and continued to boom throughout the 



260 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

several seasons she was in my employ. I presented her with a 
magnificent, well-trained white horse, and her hair was so dan 
gerously red that, when performing upon her snowy charger, she 
looked like a rocket flashing around the ring. My success while 
she was with my circus was really wonderful and mystified the 
most experienced circus proprietors of the country. I knew one 
of the secrets of that success, but kept silent. 

Eliza knew that she was appreciated by her employer, and, 
upon completing her turn in the ring, was often presented with 
a magnificent bouquet of flowers. But, despite my thoughtful- 
ness, I at last lost little Lize. She went and got married, and 
to the homeliest man that ever drew breath. When her boy twins 
were born she split my name in two and gave each one half. 

KICE ON LAUGHTER. 

A hearty laugh is a catholicon. After all, what a capital, 
kindly, honest, jolly, glorious thing a good laugh is! It s an anti- 
dyspeptic; it stirs up the slumbering fires of our nature, caused 
by ennui, excites our risibilities, and puts us in better humor 
with ourselves and the rest of mankind. What a tonic! What 
a digestor! What a febrifuge! What an enemy of evil spirits! 
Better than a walk before breakfast, or a nap after dinner. How 
it shuts the mouth of malice and opens the brow of kindness. 
Whether it discovers the gums of infancy or age, or grinders of 
folly, or the pearls of beauty. Whether it racks the sides and 
deforms the countenance of vulgarit} r , or dims the visage, or 
moistens the eye of refinement in all phases and in all faces, 
contorting, relapsing, overwhelming, convulsing, the human 
form into the happy, shaking quaking of idiocy, and turning the 
human countenance into something appropriate to Billy Buttons 
transformation. Under every circumstance, and, everywhere, a 
laugh is a glorious thing. Like a thing of beauty, it is a joy 
forever. There is no remorse in it. It leaves no sting, except 
in the sides, and that goes off. Even a single, unparticipated 
laugh is a great thing to witness. But it is seldom, single. It is 
more infectious than scarlet fever. You cannot gravely con 
template a laugh. If there is one witness, there is, forthwith, 
two laughters, and so on. The convulsion is propagated like 
sound. What a thing it is when becoming epidemic: 

For your long-faced grumblers 
With me are no go; 

They give you cold comfort, 
And none of their dough. 

For my part, and I say it in all solemnity, I have become sin 
cerely suspicious of the piety of those who do not love pleasure 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

in any form. I cannot trust the man who never laughs, who is 
always sedate, who has no apparent outlets for springs of sport- 
iveness that are perennial to the human soul. 

ADVERTISING AS AN ART. 

Since Barnum s death many good stories have been told of his 
methods in advertising his show, but Dan Eice has, in his day, 
been the originator of many clever tricks that not only increased 
his fame, but his fortune as well. 

His first experience in the circus line was with a trained pig, 
which he purchased from one Osborn, of Cazenovia, this State, 
with the proceeds of the sale of his share of a livery stable at 
Ferry and Front Streets, New York, which he partly owned at 
the time. The animal would tell a person s age with cards and 
nod its head in a manner that indicated yes or no when questions 
were put to it. It proved a profitable investment and brought 
big money to its owner wherever exhibited. At Greensburg, Pa., 
both pig and owner made a decided hit. Shortly before they ap 
peared in that place fire visited the barn of a Dutch farmer named 
Jack. The farmer suspected an employe of firing the barn. He 
heard of the wonderful intelligence of the pig and was induced 
to visit it. Eice knew of Jack s suspicion as well as his coming. 
When, after the pig had amazed everybody by its clever per 
formance, Jack inquired if the animal could tell who burned his 
barn. Eice answered in confident tones and with apparent seri 
ousness that it could, and he started to describe the supposed 
incendiary to the pig, asking frequently in the meantime if the 
person described was the incendiary. The pig always gave an 
affirmative nod to this particular question. The farmer was at 
a loss to understand it all and openly declared the educated 
porker to be possessed of an evil spirit when it led him, through 
the affirmative bobbing of its head, to believe that the suspect s 
age and habits were also known to it. 

Jack swore vengeance and lost no time in procuring a warrant 
for the arrest of his former workman. The judge had, in the 
meantime, been posted and he summoned Eice and his pig as 
witnesses to testify against the prisoner. The court room was 
packed with a curious crowd of country people, who looked on 
with awe. The court attaches knew of the joke that was being 
perpetrated, the victim of which was sentenced to thirty days 
imprisonment on the alleged testimony of the pig. This proved 
a clever and inexpensive advertising dodge, as the newspapers 
took the matter up, and both pig and owner attained a national 
prominence that resulted in bringing thousands of persons to 
see both. 



262 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Once the old showman got into a tight corner all on account 
of an elephant which he had been teaching to stand on its head 
and the failure of his under-trainer to obey his instructions. The 
elephant was a young one and the first to perform this trick. 
One day Rice was called away suddenly on business while the 
show was at Elliottsville, N. Y. The whole country round had 
been literally covered with posters illustrating the elephant 
standing on its head. Upon his arrival he was horrified to find 
that the elephant had not been receiving its lessons regularly. 
His instructions had not been carried out and the elephant had 
forgotten all about the trick. When the time for the perform 
ance arrived no explanation would satisfy the audience and Rice 
was arrested. He tried to make the court believe that a mistake 
had been made by his men in posting the bills upside down, but 
that story would not be accepted. He then took another tack, 
and after giving his assurance that the natural modesty of the 
beast, which was a female, was the only thing that led it to de 
cline to perform the trick except under cover of darkness, he 
was discharged. 

A CURIOUS COINCIDENCE. 

The city of New Orleans has always been held in high regard 
by Colonel Rice, for many of his most interesting professional 
seasons have been spent among its people, who ever extended a 
liberal patronage. A strange coincidence connected with his ca 
reer found its creation in the Crescent City, and its romantic 
ending took place in the Lone Star State. In bestowing his 
munificence the Colonel was always liberal, and on the occasion 
in question, in 1852, he presented one of the fire companies with 
a new engine. In their appreciation for this recognition, the 
firemen formed a committee, and gave the Colonel an elegant 
watch, which he cherished on account of the source from which 
it emanated. He had possessed it but a short time when, in some 
mysterious way, it disappeared and no trace of it could be found. 
A private detective failed in his efforts to locate it, and after a 
time, as no advertising brought it to light, the watch was given 
up as lost. While on his lecture tour in 1886, Colonel Rice 
drifted into Texas, and gave one of his inimitable lectures at 
the town of Ennis. During his visit of several days in that place, 
he met many old-time friends, and was informed by one of them 
that his watch had been seen at a jeweller s establishment in the 
city. With his curiosity aroused as to the now ancient timepiece, 
he proved its identity, but had much difficulty in obtaining it, as 
legal proceedings had to be enforced to secure the keepsake. Its 
value to the Colonel was merely based upon the associations con- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 263 

nected with it and the long years that had elapsed since it was 
stolen. With his old treasure recovered, he returned to the city 
of Marlin, where he had previously lectured, and, in relating the 
circumstance to friends, was astonished to discover that the old 
engine which he had presented to New Orleans so long ago, was 
then in possession of the Marlin Engine Co. No. 1. The engine 
being the same for which he had received the donation of the 
token he had so recently recovered. By just such curious coin 
cidences, Colonel Rice has been able to trace everything of value 
that has been surreptitiously taken from him, but his proverbial 
charity prevents him from exposing the shortcomings of frail 
humanity. 

A TALE OF Two CITIES. 

To those who are well-acquainted with the personal traits of 
Colonel Rice, it is an established fact that he had a great fondness 
for children, and he has been known to make sacrifices in their 
behalf that have surprised even his most intimate friends. In 
days gone by many little men and women have received gifts 
from him of ponies, tiny gold rings, and other trinkets that chil 
dren prize so highly, and his great heart was satisfied if he could 
but make them happy. This mania for the little folks often 
placed him in ludicrous positions, from which he was often com 
pelled to take refuge in flight, as the following instance, given in 
his own words, will show. Colonel Rice was giving an enter 
tainment in one of the opera houses in Waco, Tex., and in the 
course of his remarks, something occurred to remind him of an 
experience in Galveston, and he applied it in the following man 
ner: " In speaking of children," said the Colonel, " when I was 
in Galveston a few weeks ago, I displayed my proverbial weakness 
for children, by presenting a pair of new-born twins each with a 
ten-dollar-bill. The fact became known, and it wasn t a week 
before several baby carriages containing twins had been wheeled 
in my presence. My money soon gave out, and as there seemed 
to be no end to the Galveston twins, I made a bee line for 
Houston where they don t have twins." 

AN EXPERIENCE WITH TRAIN ROBBERS. 

It was while on a business trip to Omaha that Colonel Rice 
had his experience with the James gang in their first train 
robbery. The incident occurred July 20, 1873, on the Chicago, 
Rock Island and Pacific train, which was eastward bound, and 
fifteen miles from Council Bluffs, la. Colonel Rice occupied the 
first seat in the front end of a car, when, without any previous 
warning, four masked men entered, two of whom took their 



264: REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

stations of guard at each entrance. Simultaneously with their 
appearance they covered the terrified passengers with their fire 
arms and called out " Hands up." In an instant every person 
had complied with the command, and turning his head to look 
at his fellow-passengers, Colonel Eice exclaimed in a loud voice, 
" The first time Dan Eice, the circus clown, ever held up his 
hands except when over a game of poker." As the desperadoes 
proceeded through the car, they rifled the passengers of their 
money and other valuables which they deposited in bags which 
they carried. When they reached the Colonel s end of the car, 
they left him unmolested, and as they were in the act of leaving, 
one of the men addressed him with u How are you, Uncle Dan; 
I m one of the boys you used to pass into your circus." The 
identity of the speaker remained a mystery until a few years ago 
when Colonel Eice, while on a lecture tour, met Frank James at 
Huntsville, Ala., to which place he had been remanded for trial, 
accompanied by a large number of friends and relatives. On 
being introduced to James, Colonel Eice was favorably impressed 
with his agreeable address and manner and the conversation 
turned upon different topics that were very interesting. James 
remarked that he had known the Colonel from childhood and 
that he was one of the boys that used to secure admittance to the 
circus without paying for it, a privilege that always pleased the 
barefooted youngsters. In touching upon the experience of the 
train robbery, he admitted to Colonel Eice that his brother had 
related the incident to him, and also that it was Jesse who made 
the remark, " How are you, Uncle Dan? " etc. It is more than 
probable that Colonel Eice escaped much annoyance through the 
remembrance of a kindness shown to Jesse James in his early 
boyhood. And the jester has said that it always pays to remem 
ber the barefoot boys and one never loses anything by being kind 
to them, which he has had demonstrated in other instances than 
the one above mentioned. 

ON THE SUBJECT OF GRAIN ELEVATORS. 

The following is too good to be lost. Something like it ap 
peared in the " Knickerbocker " last fall, but the true state of 
affairs having never been made public, we, from the most dis 
interested motives, give them the benefit of our researches. 

E. P. Jones, the best show editor and general writer I ever 
met, had occasion to visit Cleveland, 0., in September, 18 , just 
before the State Fair commenced. His business was official, and 
in less than three hours all the compositors in town were un 
usually busy, and the demand for steam-presses was decidedly 
active. Now Jones, who was a young man of most prepossessing 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 2G5 

exterior,, and in suitable times and at proper seasons is a perfect 
D Orsay in apparel, did on this occasion give evident proof that 
he had " travelled " some, and hadn t long waits to attend to his 
wardrobe. There was in the " Forest City " one certain Fair 
banks, a printer, a publisher of the " Herald, 7 a first-rate paper. 
By the way, Fairbanks, good-natured soul, finding that Jones 
was worn down by the cares of his position, volunteered to " ride 
him out " to the fair grounds, and witness the preparations for 
the anticipated fete. Jones went it " in the rough," and when 
he got upon the grounds was (through a mistake of Fairbanks, 
of course) identified as one of the wealthy yeomen from Hamil 
ton County. They wanted one man, a practical farmer, to serve 
as one of the committee on agricultural implements > so poor 
Jones, nolens volens, was enlisted; like a lamb for the sacrifice, 
he was introduced to the various other committees in attendance 
and decorated with two yards, more or less, of colored ribbons. 
Now it so happened that u Native Wines " were objects of inter 
est in the Buckeye State, and that, in all the fairs, manufacturers 
of the aforesaid article competed for prizes like skilful physi 
cians they never swallow their own drugs per consequence, a 
little whiskey was always around for private comfort and con 
solation. 

The committee on " Native Wines " were men after Jones 
own heart; they were " his style," and he tasted their specimens 
and compared the various domestic brands, until he began to feel 
an utter indifference in regard to the period " when school 
broke," and there is no knowing but what he would have drank 
to excess, had not three members of his own committee suddenly 
demanded his opinion as umpire in regard to the merits of several 
grain elevators. Out Jones bolted, got the several owners to the 
several machines to demonstrate their plans of operation, and 
after he became satisfied with the performance, turned around 
and said, " Gentlemen of the Committee, I am a man of few 
words, understand me, of few words; the elevators we have all 
seen are good, gentlemen, I may say d n good, but when it 
comes to be reduced to fine points, curse me, gentlemen, if the 
1 greatest grain elevator in the world ain t Old Eye. : The 
committee so reported, much to the horror of the temperance 
folks, and the amusement of Jones, who had forgotten the cir 
cumstance until he found it printed in the annual journal of pro 
ceedings, a copy of which was sent him in due time by virtue of 
his office. 

NOT BAD. 

A spark from a rough diamond ofttimes produces brilliant 
effects. While in Washington, that city of infernal (Dickens was 



266 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

wrong when he styled them magnificent) distances, Colonel Rice 
endured a walk with Captain Sanford, a well-known and popu 
lar manager of minstrel fame. In the course of their ramble 
they had occasion to pass an imposing looking place of worship, 
against one of the pillars of which leaned an individual who was 
too genteel in appearance to be mistaken for a politician or even 
a Congressman; as they approached., a smile of recognition over 
spread his face, and coming towards the Colonel, exclaimed, 
"Good morning, sir!" "How are you?" responded Colonel 
Eice with his usual bland manner, " but a ah excuse me, you 
have the advantage of me." 

"Well, if I have, I m the first one ever got it," was the 
rejoinder; " but you ought to know me I m Batters, Cully 
Batters, the boys used to call me. Don t you remember, I drove 
the property wagon for you." 

" Oh, yes," said the Colonel. " But, Cully, what are you doing 
here?" at the time eyeing the edifice with a peculiar look of 
estrangement. 

" Me? why I m sexton of this crib! " 

"Sexton!" exclaimed Colonel Eice, astonished, "why, what 
on earth induced you to leave the show business and turn 
sexton ? " 

" Well," responded Batters, " you see, to quote the language of 
the preacher, I thought it better to be a doorkeeper in the house 
of the Lord than dwell in the tent of iniquity, and that hippo 
drome of yours, old fellow, was the most consarned tent of in 
iquity I ever did see so I left." 

AN INSTANCE OF UNPARALLELED IGNORANCE. 

In the old palmy days before the war, Colonel Eice had a 
staunch friend in Col. W. C. Preston, who owned a plantation 
at Poverty Eidge, located a short distance from Louisville, Ky. 
This gentleman s love of adventure led him to become the ad 
vance agent of Colonel Eice s Circus, and in his admiration of 
the popular jester, he bestowed the name of Dan Eice upon his 
youngest child, to whom he was greatly attached. The regular 
nurse who cared for the little one was taken seriously ill, and 
Mrs. Preston was forced to call in an ignorant plantation girl to 
discharge the nurse s duties. In previously doing errands about 
the place, she often heard her mistress indulge in words of en 
dearment to the babe, and one that seemed to impress the fancy 
of the dusky maiden consisted of the expression " you are a dear 
little angel." Being requested one day to take the little one 
for an airing, she wandered some distance from the house, and 
having seen Colonel s Eice s elaborate showbills, on which were 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN PJCE 267 

the figures of spirits adorned with wings, representing ethereal 
subjects, the thought suddenly occurred to her that the baby, 
which she had so often heard spoken of as an angel, could also 
fly. Therefore, acting on the impulse, with all her strength she 
threw the baby into the air, exclaiming, " Dah, yo deah little 
angel, yo now fly/ The result can be easily imagined. It was 
followed by the funeral of the little namesake of Colonel Eice. 

Dr. Love is said to be the only real live American resident in 
Alexandria. Love is bound up in the story of the Rose of 
Jericho, however, in more ways than one. By it the wonderful 
octogenarian De Lesseps met his present wife, a beautiful young 
woman, who was one of the five blooming sisters in a Parisian 
family the great engineer used to visit. He had been left, at 
sixty-eight, a widower with a whole troop of sons and daughters. 
He had a Jericho rose and carried it in his vest pocket one day 
when he went to call on the five beauties. The prettiest of them, 
who asked him in a charmingly ingenuous manner why he had 
never married again, received the Resurrection flower as a gift. 

When De Lesseps made his next visit the young girl ran out 
to him with the wonderful rose. It was in full bloom. " See," 
said she, " what a miracle the water has effected. It is like the 
blossoming of love in old age! " 

The old man did not need more than one suggestion, innocent 
though it was. He proposed, or rather finished the proposal, 
and their nuptials were soon solemnized. 

Webster defines the Rose of Jericho as " a plant growing on 
the plain of Jericho the anastation hierochuntina. It is evi 
dently not the resurrection flower which has become familiarly 
known of late by this romantic name. 

CRAWLING UNDER THE CANVAS. 

An incident that occurred years ago, when Uncle Dan was 
showing in Kentucky, in which a prominent banker and Ken 
tucky distiller figured, is related with a great deal of gusto, by 
Colonel Rice. " I wasn t performing that year, but simply went 
into the ring at the opening in citizen s clothes and made a little 
speech. In the hotel in the morning I heard a couple of old men, 
who were evidently wealthy and solid men, discussing the circus. 
They had an itching to go and see the performance, but one of 
them had a suspicion that I was not with the show, and he told 
the other man so in such a loud voice that I sought an introduc 
tion and convinced him that he was wrong. Then what did the 
two old fellows do but ask me to let them crawl under the tent 
as they had done when they were boys. Well, I humored them, 



268 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

because I saw a way to get a joke on them and make the perform 
ance lively. The tent was packed full when I took them down 
to a place near the dressing-room, raised up the canvas a trifle, 
and tucked them under in a hurry. The place where I put them 
in was the space at the end of the reserved seats where the horses 
and performers came into the ring. Half a dozen of the circus 
employees saw and seized upon them at once, and there was a 
great uproar, the entire audience standing up to see what was 
going on, and laughing at the discomfiture of their solid fellow- 
citizens. Meanwhile I came in and tipped the boys the wink, 
and the old fellows went off and sat down in the meekest frame 
of mind imaginable. When I came to make my speech I got the 
whole audience in a roar by telling how I had played the joke 
on them, and I will say that when they understood it, they 
laughed as heartily as any one." 

The late Congressman Dick, recently, in a reminiscent mood, 
tells this story of an experience in Washington: " My father was 
very fond of the circus, and was in Congress when Rice s Greatest 
Show on Earth gave a day s performance at the capital. Father 
didn t want to let on to us boys that he would go to the circus, 
and I think that he was a little bit afraid to let his fellow-mem 
bers in Congress know he would take it in, for he slipped away 
quietly and went to the performance all alone. He took a seat 
where he thought no one would see him, but when Uncle Dan 
came in as the clown and began to make his speech, he alluded 
to his Congressman, the distinguished General Dick, pointing 
him out as he spoke, while as many as 200 Congressmen and Sen 
ators who were present craned their necks to spy out father. 
Father used to tell of it afterward, and laugh till the tears ran 
down his cheeks, as he thought how the tables had been turned 
on him by the old showman." 

A SINGULAR FOURTH OF JULY MOVEMENT IN LOWELL, 
IN 1856. 

A GUN SPIKED. 

It seems almost incredible to intelligent belief that in one of 
the most popular centres of our great country the following inci 
dent occurred on the occasion of celebrating our patriotic na 
tional holiday, but such was indeed the case, as the following 
statistics show, and the origin, emanating as it did from the 
municipal authorities, made the fact more conspicuous than ordi 
nary circumstances could possibly have done. 

It is related that a resolution to appropriate $2,500 for a cele- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 269 

bration in Lowell, Mass., was killed by the Board of Aldermen, 
although they voted to have the customary salute fired. The 
Common Council, considering that if they could not have a big 
celebration, they would not have any, killed the vote of the 
Aldermen for the salute. Consequently Lowell was entirely un 
provided by the City Fathers with any kind of a celebration. 
Mr. Rice, whose "Great Show" was to be exhibited on the 
Fourth, heard of this state of affairs, and telegraphed to the 
Commander of the City Guards to fire the salute and he would 
foot the bill. The offer of Mr. Rice, who was somewhat noted for 
his oratorical pyrotechnics was generally understood at Lowell. 
But when the detachment of the Guards went to get their gun in 
order on the morning in question, they found that the piece had 
been spiked. The vandals who did the malicious mischief went 
deliberately to work to consummate this plot, for, it appears, they 
cut a pane of glass out of a window of the gun-house, so that 
the hand could reach in and remove the whole sash by taking off 
the inside fastenings. After this work was done, the sash was 
replaced and a new pane of glass nicely fitted in the place of the 
one broken. The idea probably was that in taking the gun be 
fore daylight, the spiking would not be noticed until the squad 
was on the ground for action when it would then be too late to 
remedy the matter. But the trick did not work. It was dis 
covered and the piece was taken to the machine shop where a 
new vent was speedily drilled so that, after all, the morning 
salute of thirty-three guns was fired four minutes after one. 
Commander Busbee of the City Guards showed great energy in 
repairing the mischief so speedily. 

The affair created a great deal of excitement in Lowell, and 
Mr. Rice did not fail to enlarge upon it in his speeches in the ring 
arena, bringing down the house at every allusion he made to it. 

Assuming an attitude of dignity, the clown was lost sight of, 
for Mr. Rice was all eloquence, and the following are as near his 
remarks as can be condensed to give them to the readers: 

" Another evolution of the wheels of time has brought around 
the birthday of the Nation s Freedom, a day sacred to every lover 
of his country and her glorious institutions; a day on which 
the heart of every American freeman throbs with patriotic emo 
tion. Seventy-five years have passed away since a few patriots 
pledged their lives, their liberty, and their sacred honors to 
throw off the shackles of British tyranny, and yet our country is 
but in its infancy. The last of this brave band has passed away, 
and even of those who flourished in the times that tried men s 
souls but a small remnant remains scattered over the land. 
Could those who were prominent actors during that fearful strug 
gle revisit the earth and see the giant oak that has sprung up 



270 KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

from the little acorn that they planted, great indeed would be 
their astonishment. They would see a mighty empire stretching 
from the St. John s to the Kio Grande, from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific, and flourishing cities standing where, but a few years ago, 
the wigwam of the savage stood; the echoes of the shrill whistle 
of the locomotive and steamboat now reverberates where the bay 
ing of the wolf and the scream of the panther and the war whoop 
of the savage alone were heard. 

" No person with one spark of patriotism can look about him 
and see the rank his country holds in the eyes of the world at 
this time without emotion and pride. Let us then fervently 
thank him who made and preserved us as a nation, let us renew 
our oath on the altar of God, eternal hostility to every form of 
t}rranny over the mind of man/ 

" Let us enjoy the day in a national manner as becomes free 
men. Let us remember the unanimity of those who fought, bled, 
and died for our country, and though the horizon is sometimes 
clouded by the clamor of persons and fanatics, let us never lose 
sight of our motto: Our Country, right or wrong, and pray for 
The Union, now and forever/ ; 

These sentiments of patriotic appeal awoke in the people of 
Lowell the slumbering fires of loyalty and their demonstrations 
were successive rounds of noisy cheers that more than repaid the 
jester for the conspicuous part he played in the city s celebration. 
The press pronounced his overtures a brilliant success and the 
affair called forth a universal approbation. 



HENKY CLAY AND DAN KICE. 

Congress adjourning to attend a circus! Just imagine it. Dan 
Eice, one of the celebrated showmen of the past generation, told 
the story, and, of course, vouched for its truth. In April, 1850, 
he appeared in the circus ring at Washington as the " great jester 
and clown " to startle and delight the assembled statesmen. 

The day had been set aside for Eice s benefit, and something 
out of the ordinary must be done. He did it in an unexpected 
manner. The members of both houses of Congress, the heads 
of departments, the President and Cabinet, and scores of leading 
people in the social life of the Capitol received elaborate invita 
tions printed on satin for the benefit performance that day. 
Nearly everybody accepted the invitation, and it was generally 
supposed that the bits of satin were free passes to the show. 

Among the first to arrive at the tent was Henry Clay with a 
party of ladies. His colored servant was in advance, and the 
satin invitations were presented as passes of admission. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 271 

" How many in the party? " sternly asked the doorkeeper, who 
had been drilled for his post. 

u Twelve/ 7 answered the great leader, solemnly but confi 
dently. 

" Twelve dollars! " exclaimed the doorkeeper; " buy your 
tickets at the box-office/ Dan Kice was behind the canvas look 
ing through a peephole and enjoying the evident agitation of 
Mr. Clay, when, after fumbling in his pockets, he was unable 
to find the necessary amount. The practical joker had provided 
for such emergencies,, and had nearby a well-known Washington 
tradesman of that period with pockets stuffed with silver dollars. 
Henry Clay s embarrassment was relieved and his party passed 
in. He remarked: " I ll bet this is one of Dan s tricks." It was. 

Lewis Cass, who came later, was disposed to be ugly, but 
neither he nor others of the distinguished statesmen hesitated 
about taking the tradesman s money when necessary. It was a 
great day for Dan, and a big success. President Zaeh. Taylor 
was there; so were Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Stephen A. 
Douglas, and scores of others who were part of the history of that 
epoch of National life. That Dan was a high-roller is evinced 
by the fact that he rattled off fifty original verses of " local hits," 
and everybody was scored, from the austere President down to 
the pages in Congress. 

How PRESIDENT LINCOLN GOT KID OF A BORE. 

During the early part of the war, while professionally visiting 
Washington, Dan Rice called upon President Lincoln, whose 
acquaintance he had made long before, while Mr. Lincoln was 
practising in Springfield, 111. He was cordially received and in 
vited to call again and again, for Dan was a good story-teller, 
and so was the President, and herein was verified the old adage 
of " birds of a feather." Upon one of these occasions Dan had 
an illustration of Lincoln s adroit method of getting rid of a 
bore. 

He was in familiar chat with the President in the White 
House, when the card of Judge Throckmorton, of Massachusetts, 
who had been sent by the philanthropic people of that State to 
protest against the placing of the negro troops in the front of 
battle, and he forthwith began to urge upon the President the 
necessity of interference in behalf of the colored brethren. 

Lincoln listened courteously to his statement and then wrote 
for the Judge a letter of introduction to Secretary of War 
Stanton, under whose supervision the matter came. The Judge, 
however, persisted in the discussion, and the President, who was 
anxious to hear the conclusion of the story which Dan was in the 



272 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

middle of when interrupted, turned and said, " Judge, excuse me, 
1 neglected to introduce you to my friend here, Col. Dan Rice, 
the most famous circus clown in the world." 

The Judge was too dumfounded to extend his hand, but 
bowed himself out, and remarked, as he passed the doorkeeper, 
" Great heavens, is it possible that the President of the United 
States can allow himself to be closeted with a clown ? " 

PRESIDENT JOHNSON AND THE IMPEACHMENT FACTION. 

There is an inside and unwritten history to every important 
occurrence of a national character, and the following is Dan 
Rice s version of the impeachment of President Johnson. Dur 
ing the days of reconstruction, Dan Eice was a United States 
detective, having been appointed by the President to protect the 
interests of the government and the cotton raisers of the South 
against the dishonesty of government agents. 

Rice was in Washington at the time of Johnson s inauguration 
and for a considerable time after, but, a few days before the event, 
he was privy to a conversation between Johnson and Col. John 
W. Forney, of Philadelphia. 

While Rice was in communion with Johnson, Forney sent up 
his card, and Rice retired to an adjoining room occupied by Colo 
nel Moore, the President s private secretary, where he distinctly 
overheard the conversation between the President and Colonel 
Forney. 

Hitherto the latter had been an admirer and staunch sup 
porter of Johnson, having been intimately associated with him 
during the events attending his accession to the Presidency. At 
this interview, Forney presented a list of post-office and custom 
house appointments for Philadelphia, for the President s sanc 
tion. The latter said, " John, if there is anything I can do for 
you personally, command me, but as President, I cannot accept 
your slate." 

Forney left the White House in undisguised anger, and upon 
the following morning his papers, the "Washington Chronicle " 
and the " Philadelphia Press," familiarly known in Washington 
as " my two papers," both daily, opened upon the President in an 
article headed, " What is the matter at the White House? The 
President closeted with a clown." 

Now Rice was very intimate with Forney, and meeting him on 
the street, he asked what was meant by the article in the papers. 
Forney put it off with the reply, " Oh, it s a big thing for you, 
Dan" 

"But," said Dan, "you have made a mistake, the President 
was right." At this Forney burst out, and complained bitterly 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 273 

of his treatment, and in the height of his passion he swore that 
he would ruin Johnson, as he had previously ruined Buchanan, 
and Eice naturally surmised that this was the prelude to the open 
rupture between the President s party and the impeachment 
i action. 

The minds of the people, as well as of the government officers, 
were filled with the suspicions of the times, and suggestions of 
disloyalty, from any quarter, found ready credence. Forney did 
everything in his power to ruin Johnson, even going so far as to 
indirectly accuse him, through the columns of his papers, with 
being concerned with the assassination of President Lincoln. 

Too MUCH VIRTUE FOR THIRTEEN DOLLARS. 

Few men have been upon such familiar terms with notable 
characters, or individuals of national reputation, as Dan Kice, 
and his reminiscences of the distinguished persons, who are fast 
passing away, were equally entertaining and instructive. In an 
early day he was introduced to General Houston by Henry Clay 
and one day while walking with the former on Pennsylvania 
Avenue, they encountered the Hon. Simon Cameron, with whom 
Dan was also well acquainted. There was in company another 
gentleman, a gallant officer, Captain Britton, of Corpus Christi, 
and a celebrated Texas Ranger. He was a capital story-teller, 
a-n immaculate dancer, and a perfect Chesterfield, or Beau Brum- 
mel in his attire, and it was said that he was noted for his atten 
tion to his toilet even preceding a battle. At the time he had 
a company in the Mexican War, under General Taylor. Upon 
a certain occasion the General issued an order that he would re 
view the troops upon a specified morning. He had often heard 
of the gallantry of Captain Britton s company, and of one Timo 
thy Donahue, evidently an Irishman of culture, but who became 
demoralized in Xew Orleans, and recruiting officers there in 
duced him to enlist and go to Texas, where he joined Captain 
Britton s company. 

On the occasion alluded to, the roll was called, and all answered 
but Timothy. Captain Britton suspected the cause, as Tim 
would often get drunk when off duty. An orderly was dispatched 
to the camp, where Tim was seen advancing and staggering with 
musket on shoulder, and as he fell in, the Captain addressed him 
in a very stern tone. " Timothy," said he, " you are drunk on 
duty. 1 had hoped upon this occasion to have had General 
Taylor make some recognition of your gallant deeds by shaking 
hands with you, but here you are drunk on duty. He answered, 
"Hist Captain, not another word: how do you expect all the 
virtues in a man for thirteen dollars a month? " 
18 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 



SHAKING HANDS WITH MAJESTY. 

Dan Eice claimed to be the only American that ever shook 
hands with Queen Victoria. Years ago when Franklyn Pierce 
was President, and Uncle Dan was not quite old enough to be an 
uncle, he was a bearer of State despatches from Washington to 
England. The despatches were received by Her Majesty in per 
son, who, upon taking them, handed the package to the secre 
tary. She then bowed very graciously as if to intimate that the 
interview was at an end, and in doing so slightly extended her 
hand. Dan instantly put forth his huge paw, seized her hand, 
and said in his hearty style, " My dear Madame, this is the 
American fashion," and he gave it a hearty shake. 

Dan says that the story of young Van Buren having danced 
with her, he believes to be all " poppycock," but that it is true 
that he shook her hand for all it was worth, much to the horror 
and amazement of the secretary. 

But since that time, other Americans, and the real, simon- 
pure article, have had the honor of giving Queen Victoria a hand 
shaking. Upon her Majesty s visit to Buffalo BilPs Wild West 
Show in London, after the performance she interviewed the In 
dian chiefs, when, according to the published report, " Yellow- 
Striped Face," the half-breed interpreter, was presented, and 
then came two squaws, mothers of two pappooses in the camp. 
The little girl pappoose was first presented. The Queen patted 
her cheek with her black-silk gloved hand, and then the little 
thing stuck out her brown paw, and the Queen shook it. After 
this the Queen stepped back but the mother was not content. 
She walked up and stuck out her hand, and the Queen shook 
hands gravely and bowed. Then the other squaw came up and 
said, " How," and offered her hand, and, finally, a little brown 
boy pappoose came up and offered his hand. The Queen shook 
hands with them all, these being the only members of the Wild 
West party who were thus honored. Then Messrs. Cody and 
Salisbury were presented. Both of them bowed gravely, and 
Colonel Cody smiled pleasantly at the compliment paid to him 
by the Queen. She told him that she had been very much inter 
ested and that his skill was very great. A moment after this an 
equerry signalled for the carriage, and it came dashing up. The 
Queen gave directions to have the top of the carriage lowered. 
She then turned to the Marquis of Lome and extended to him 
her right hand. He bent very low and kissed it and then fell 
back. 

DAN BICE S GRATITUDE. 
An interesting incident is related in a late number of the 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 275 

" Reading Gazette." It appears that some fourteen years ago 
Dan left Heading with an exhibition of some sort, which turned 
out badly, and involved the proprietor in difficulty. Judge 
Heidenreich, of Berks County, found him in this condition, and 
lent him a horse and wagon, in order that he might pursue his 
business. Dan was still unsuccessful. In this dilemma he was 
forced to sell the horse and wagon, which the Judge had only 
loaned him, in order to raise means to take his wife home to 
Pittsburg. Not long after this he obtained a situation in one of 
the theatres of the city, where the Judge saw and recognized him, 
and in the morning called at his lodgings. Dan was still poor, 
and fully expected reproaches, if nothing worse, from his old 
patron, but instead of these the Judge insisted on his going to 
the tailor s and being fitted out at his expense. To this, how 
ever, Dan would not consent, and they parted, naver to meet 
again until one day, when his company was performing at 
Reading and the Judge came to attend court. Dan s first duty 
was to hunt up his old friend and invite him to take a short ride 
about town, to which he consented, and a horse and vehicle were 
soon at the door. 

Dan s equipage, like that of his profession generally, seemed 
a pretty stylish turnout. It consisted of a bran new carriage of 
elegant make and a spick and span new set of glistening harness. 
The drive was taken and enjoyed, and time flew swiftly by, as the 
two friends talked and laughed over the half-forgotten events of 
old times. Dan drove the Judge back to his lodgings, stepped 
out upon the pavement, and, before the Judge had time to rise 
from his seat, handed him the reins and whip, with a graceful 
bow, and said, " These are yours, Judge, the old horse and wagon 
restored, with interest; take them with Dan Rice s warmest grati 
tude! " The Judge was stricken dumb with amazement for a few 
moments, but soon recovered his self-possession and began to 
remonstrate. But Dan was inexorable; he closed his lips firmly, 
shook his head, waved a polite adieu to his old friend in the 
carriage, walked off to his hotel, and left the Judge to drive the 
handsome equipage, now really his own, to the stable. 

How TO DETECT A KENTUCKIAN. 

When introducing his famous horse Excelsior at Mblo s Gar 
den, New York, in the winter of 1857, a controversy arose " be 
hind the scenes," as to whether there was a Kentuckian in the 
audience. " I ll settle that dispute," said Dan, and going for 
ward he proceeded to give a brief history of the horse and his 
pedigree. " He was," he commenced, " sired by Kentucky s 
favorite horse, Gray Eagle " (applause from one person only), 



276 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

Dan continued, " and further, ladies and gentlemen, he was 
foaled in Kentucky." Thereupon the enthusiastic gentleman 
who had before applauded, arose and shouted, " Dan Rice, so was 
I." Great laughter and applause, when Dan, with finger on 
his nose, remarked, " My friend, you re not the only jackass that 
has been foaled in Kentucky." There was uproarious laughter, 
but the Kentuckian failed to see the point. 

A SHOWMAN S LAST REQUEST. 

In the early stage of the " one-horse show," Dan Rice s only 
performers were Jean Johnson and James O Connell, known as 
the tattooed man who professed to have the same distinguishing 
embellishments upon his cutaneous coat as the Fiji Islanders, al 
though it is doubtful if his acquaintance with that geographical 
part of the globe had any closer relation than in his imagination. 
His principal act was in dancing a hornpipe between rows of 
eggs, which was really an agile and clever feat. While travelling 
with the show, he was taken sick and unable to perform, but he 
was kindly looked after by Dan Rice and the few members that 
comprised the company. They did not abandon or leave him 
behind but carried him along, although his malady increased and 
his condition became hopeless. Finding the closing hour ap 
proaching, he made a characteristic request which was finally 
carried out. When committed to the earth the band played a 
lively tune and Jean Johnson danced a hornpipe over the grave. 
Poor O Connell thought, and perhaps justly, that the transition 
from a life of privation and suffering was more appropriately 
celebrated by music and mirth than grief and lamentation. As 
stated, these two performers with Dan Rice as clown and vocalist, 
together with the band and the perfomance of the wonderful 
horse, made up the show, and a more popular one never travelled 
the length and breadth of the American continent. In the slang 
language of the profession, other circuses, no matter how exten 
sive or chock-full of performers, had to " get up and get " when 
Dan s avant courier made his appearance. 

THE FOUR-LEAF CLOVER. 

In the summer of 1842, Dan Rice was exhibiting in Pennsyl 
vania. It was a hall exhibition wherein he perfomed feats of 
strength, legerdemain, and other miscellaneous acts, to the grati 
fication and astonishment of the primitive Teutonic denizens of 
that region. Some of his prestidigitating illusions in particular 
were amazing to the rustic population, who spread the report that 
he was "ter tuyfil " himself. Dan and his assistant travelled 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 277 

with a horse and wagon loaned him by Mr. Heidelright, of Cooks- 
town, an admirer of Dan s and who subsequently became a county 
judge. In due course they arrived at the village of Womeldorf 
and put up at the tavern in the place kept by an old Pennsylvania 
German, who, like the majority of the inhabitants, was a firm 
believer in the power and efficacy of the four-leaf clover in pro 
tecting its possessor from evil influence and impositions. Dan 
issued his advertisement for an exhibition which was to be given 
in the dining-hall of the tavern, and, being apprised that the 
landlord had provided himself with a four-leaf clover, he resolved 
to humor his conceit. Accordingly upon the night of the exhibi 
tion he borrowed a quarter of a dollar from the old gentleman 
which he placed in a box and announced his intention to transfer 
it to another box, which the landlord held in his hand, and who all 
the time had one of the fingers of the other hand upon the four- 
leaf clover. Dan, in his conjuration, uttered a few words of gib 
berish but the charm wouldn t work, and, to his apparent chagrin 
and mortification, he gave it up when the elated landlord, draw 
ing forth the four-leaf clover, held it exultingly aloft, at the same 
time exclaiming, " Ah, ah, you show fellers can t fool me. By 
himinel, I got das four-leaf clover and so I beats ter tuyfil. 
The audience applauded to the echo, nor was there one who was 
not satisfied of the superior power of the quadruple-leaf clover 
over the magic of " ter tuyfil." 

In the meantime Dan had instructed his attendant to harness 
their horse, load up the traps and wait a short distance upon the 
road where he was presently joined by Dan, who had uncere 
moniously decamped without settling the bill, leaving behind 
him the following brief note. " How about that four-leaf 
clover; have you got it yet? You can t be fooled, eh; but you 
see you can t beat ter tuyfil. 

It was seven years after this occurrence, in 1849, that Dan was 
in the zenith of his fame, with a splendidly equipped circus and 
travelling luxuriantly in a carriage formerly belonging to Louis 
Philippe, the deposed King of the French. The route lay 
through Pennsylvania and Dan instructed his agent to make a 
stand at Womeldorf, much to the latter s surprise, as the "Show" 
was not wont to exhibit at so small a place. But Dan, remem 
bering the scurvy joke he had played upon the landlord, had a 
mind to see how he would regard the reappearance of "ter 
tuyfil." 

The old German was well aware that his old customer was the 
proprietor of the big show, and as the cortege filed past the 
tavern, he sat in an easy chair upon the porch looking anxiously 
for the fellow who had served him the trick. During the per 
formance Dan told the story in the ring amid peals of merriment 



278 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

at the expense of the landlord and his four-leaf clover. The old 
fellow, however, sat stolid and unmoved, but the next morning 
upon settling the bill, Dan s old account was found annexed, 
which Dan laughingly paid. 



ANXIOUS TO FILL THE BILL. 

While Dan Rice s Circus was in Memphis " long fore de war," 
as the darkies say, Colonel Bankhead, editor of the " Memphis 
Whig/ presented his bill for advertising at the ticket wagon, 
which was promptly paid and the genial editor wished the show a 
run of good luck. A short time afterwards Dan Rice received 
the following letter: 

DEAR DAX: In the money paid me for advertising there was 
a counterfeit two-dollar bill which I return. Please send me 
another at your earliest convenience. Yours etc. 

In the course of a month Dan answered the letter with an en 
closure. It read: "Dear Colonel: I have travelled through the 
State of Indiana before I could find another such a bill as you 
desired me to send. I hope it will suit you. 

Yours, 

DAN RICE. 

The editor recognized the sell and enjoyed the joke and pub 
lished the correspondence. 



A GIFT THAT WAS DECLINED. 

Dan Rice has, perhaps, been the recipient of as many favors 
as any public living man, but at Meadville, in the vicinity of his 
then home, he received an offer which he was fain to decline. 
After a long and arduous season of travel his mental condition 
was such that he was constrained to retire and seek quiet and 
repose at-home. He quickly recuperated and, visiting Meadville, 
he was congratulated by the friends he met there upon his 
recovery. Among them was an elongated specimen of a Penn 
sylvania undertaker, named Jonathan Long, a most appropriate 
patronymic for one of his longitude. Striding up to Dan and 
extending his hand, " Dan," said he, " I have not forgotten that 
when I was a boy you made me a present of a pony, and I feel 
grateful to you to this day. Now, some time while travelling in 
some outlandish country, like Texas or Arkansas, you may be 




JOEL E. WARNER 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 279 

taken sick and die and all I have to say, old fellow, is this, that 
I want you to send me word and I will send on the finest burial 
casket in my establishment for you to remember me by." 

One of Dan s peculiarities was to give ponies to boys, whether 
he was acquainted with them or not, and no souvenir is more 
acceptable to the average youth. He will remember the donor 
to the end of time. 



A LAW-ABIDING CITIZEN. 

At the time that the Fifteenth Amendment was passed Dan 
B ice s show was up the Eed Eiver and advertised to exhibit at 
Cotile, some distance above Alexandria. The news of the pas 
sage of the amendment spread far and wide and created much 
excitement especially among the newly liberated colored popula 
tion, but few of whom, however, could explain w r hat it actually 
meant. There was one who was particularly anxious. His 
name was Ben Colfax and he was looked up to by the colored 
community of that section as an oracle. Accordingly he hied 
himself to an Israelite who kept a plantation supply store, to 
explain what the Fifteenth Amendment meant. The Jew, who 
was a jocular sort of fellow, told him it meant that every colored 
man in the country must provide himself with fifteen wives. 

At this explanation Ben snapped his fingers, gave a bound, 
and exclaimed, " I m d d if I ain t a law-abiding citizen." 

Two days after this conference with the Jew, Ben called at 
the ticket wagon where Dan himself was presiding and^ handing 
in a dollar, said, " Massa Eice, give me a ticket for my wife." 

He got the ticket, when he handed in another dollar, with the 
request of another ticket for his wife. The second ticket was 
given him. " And now," said he, " give me another ticket for 
my wife." 

" Why, Ben," exclaimed Dan, " how many wives have you? " 

" Massa Eice," replied the uxorious Ben, " I was a law-abiding 
citizen and I mean to lib up to that Fifteenth Amendment. I 
hab only known about it two days and I got already five wives, 
but before the week s out I ll hab the hull fifteen amendment, 
you bet." 

Capt. Thomas P. Leathers, a most unique and interesting char 
acter, can be classed as one of the early friends of Mr. Eice in 
Xew Orleans; and during all the intervening years that connect 
the past and present, no circumstance ever occurred to mar that 
friendship or create a doubt as to the genuine hearty principles 
of Captain Leathers. He was a Kentuckian by birth, claiming 



280 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Covington as his native place, and is now about four-score. He 
was also the oldest steamboat man in the country. 

Being a man of great individuality and firmness of character, 
his name is a household word throughout the Mississippi Valley. 
His bearing was very commanding, for he stood over six feet and 
was as fine a specimen of physical manhood as the eye of man 
ever looked upon. Mr. Rice said that his whole life has been 
devoted to good deeds, which fact commands respect, and lie was 
honored and beloved by all w r ho knew him. His successful ca 
reer as a steamboat captain was the result of pure merit. Lead 
ing a life of constant activity, he was, naturally, a great friend of 
Mr. Rice s " One-Horse Show/ when it was situated on St. 
Charles Street, in New Orleans, during the winter of 1851 and 
1852, and he never failed to give it his patronage whenever lie 
was in the city. At that time the clouds of adversity hung heavy 
over the establishment in St. Charles Street, for Mr. Rice was 
battling with enemies and fate, and striving to regain what he 
had lost by a misplaced confidence in men who were previously 
his partners and pretended friends. Captain Leathers, being 
aware of the villainous treatment to which Mr. Rice had been 
subjected, and which was still trying to crush him, never ceased 
to condemn those men who, adding insult to injury, were en 
deavoring to ruin Mr. Rice s efforts in exhibiting under a tent, 
while they, representing a strong circus company with plenty of 
means at command, were playing in the American Theatre on 
P Street. Public sentiment was strongly in favor of Mr. Rice, 
as he was a general favorite, and its sympathies were with him, 
therefore it would not tolerate the vituperation of his enemies 
against him. That fact, coupled with his peculiar satires on the 
wrongs he had previously endured, was sufficient cause to ruin 
their prospects of success, and in a few weeks they were com 
pelled to leave and extend their efforts in the upper river coun 
try. So incensed were the people of New Orleans against the 
proprietors, Spaulding and Van Orden, of the circus in the Amer 
ican Theatre, that, before they left the city, it was positively 
unsafe for them to appear on the streets after dark. Thus prov 
ing that public sentiment shapes its own circumstances in ad 
justing its interpretations of right and wrong. Mr. Rice s suc 
cess was unprecedented throughout the season, and though his 
enemies eluded the warfare of his scathing satire by escaping 
from New Orleans, they renewed their attacks against him dur 
ing the season of 1852 with increased attractions, the principle 
feature of which was W. F. Wallett, " The Queen s Jester," 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 281 

ElCE IN THE RING. 
ARENIC WIT. GROTESQUE HUMOR. 

It is said that " variety is the spice of life/ and the miscellany 
which we have compiled would not be complete without a selec 
tion of the jokes, repartee, and quaint sayings of Dan Rice, when 
playing the fool in the sawdust arena. Unlike the stereotyped 
edition of modern clowns he never studied his jokes, they were 
rendered off-hand and upon local and immediate events, many of 
which would actually occur within the pavilion or theatre during 
the performance. To " shoot folly as it flies " was his peculiar 
forte, and he never repeated a joke. The ring master, whose 
province it was to reply, was frequently nonplused in a vain 
endeavor to conjecture what was aimed at or when or where the 
point of the joke would come in. His apt and ready extempore 
wit, as much of a novelty then as now, took his audiences by 
storm, and he at once, meteor-like, shot upward to the very 
zenith of his profession. He has had scores of imitators, and so 
had Shakespeare and Dickens, but they have fallen as far short 
of the original Dan Rice as the modern playwrights are beneath 
the Bard of Avon, or as the strained humor of the imitators of 
" Boz " is flat and insipid in comparison with their illustrious 
model. Of course the following dialogues occurred at various 
times and in various places, and as before stated they were ex 
tempore, without any prearrangement with the ring master. The 
scrap-books of Mr. Rice having been preserved, we are able to 
draw from the vast repository countless selections, a few of which 
are given by way of illustration. 

DAN RICE AND THE RING MASTER. 
COLLOQUY. THE POWER OF MILDNESS. 

The rider comes into the arena for his act and before mount 
ing the horse, throws off his top garment and hands it to Mr. 
Rice, and when the rider pauses in the act, the clown has folded 
the cloak about his form. The ring master exclaims: 

Ring Master " Why, fool, wrapping yourself in the cloak of 
the rider on a mild night like this surprises me." 

Clown " Shakespeare says, When the clouds begin to gather, 
then wise men put on their cloaks. Master, just before I en 
tered the arena I looked without and found the clouds were thick 
and ominous. Though this is the first time I ever assumed the 
abandoned habit of my neighbor." 

R. M." And still thou art a fool " 



282 REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 

Clown " And yet I am a wise fool, for Shakespeare says, I 
have it in my nose " (pointing to his nose). 

R. M. " You have, goodness knows/ 

Clown " You spoke, Master, of the mildness of the weather; 
do you know there is a great power in mildness? " 

R. M. " Explain yourself, as you are such a wise fool." 

Clown " You know the fable in which ^. Esop related the con 
test between the wind and the sun, demonstrating as to which of 
them should make the traveller part with his cloak. Also ailord- 
ing an illustration of the means most likely or effective in induc 
ing men to throw aside their prejudices; or, as the Jews or any 
other religious sect Avould prefer in each case to cling to the faith 
of their forefathers. As to the story of the traveller and his 
cloak, it is told thus in the old nursery rhyme: 

" The wind quite a hurricane blew, 
But could not provoke 
Him to part with his cloak, 
Which around him the closer he drew. 

" The mild, melting rays of the sun, however, made garment 
oppressive and inclined him to throw it aside. 

MORAL. 

" Tis thus that we find 
The great mass of mankind; 

By mildness are easily won; 
Persecution compare 
To the boisterous air, 

Eeligion s the light of the sun." 



DESCRIPTION OF A COQUETTE. 
COLLOQUY. 

Clown " Master, you know Shakespeare says, All the world s 
a stage, and men and women are but players, and in their lives 
play ma.ny parts! 

R. M. " Very true, sir, very true." 

Clown " I saw the other day a character they call a coquette." 

P. M. " Ah, indeed! Can you describe it? " 

Clown" Yes, sir; I ll attempt it." 

R, M. " Well, give us your version of a coquette, Mr. Merry- 
man." 

Clown " It s a female, Mr. Master, who is fond of you for a 
moment; faithless for a year; fickle forever. A painted doll, a 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX PJCE 283 

glittering trifle, a feather, a toy, a bauble. A transient pleasure 
or eternal pain. An embodiment of absurdities, and a collection 
of contradictions! " 

P. M. " Mr. Merryman, you are entirely too hard on the 
ladies." 

Clown " I said nothing about ladies, Master, I said a female. 
But for fear my remark might be misinterpreted by many, in 
justice to myself, I wish it distinctly understood that I respect 
everything in the shape of a female, or, I may say, woman, 
whether she is of lowly or exalted birth, rich or poor. In fact, 
my admiration and love for woman is so great, I never neglect 
to show my gallantry; even if you hung a bonnet or nightcap on 
a post, I would pay homage to it." 

R. M. (applauds) " Well done, well done, Mr. Rice." 

Clown " In truth, as Byron says, I wish all women s mouths 
were melted into one that I might kiss them all at once, and 



E. M. "And what?" 

Clown " And then, let 7 em run." 

(The rider goes out and the Ring Master prepares to follow, 
but the clown advances ahead of him. This challenges the Ring 
Master to reprimand him. He roughly seizes the clown and 
hurls him back saying): 

E. M. " Remember sir, I never follow a fool." 

Clown " All right, Master, I m not so particular about it; I 
will." (Clown stops at the door, turns his face to the audience 
and soliloquizes.) 

Clown " He ruthlessly hurled me from him! Why did he use 
me thus? I love him ever. As Shakespeare says, 

" Let Hercules himself do what he may, 
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day. 

And that is the beauty of this great country, where the god of 
equality rides on every gale. To-day I shine my master s shoes, 
to-morrow my beaver s up, he may have to shine mine! We all 
cannot be masters; and all masters cannot be truly followed, but 
sooner than he expects my master may find he s left the wisest 
man behind, for I ve noticed that, 

" When one sweeps a room, 

The dirt always goes before the broom/ 



COLLOQUY. 

Mr. Rice " I have read the Bible, sir, with a great deal of 
interest and marvelled at its metaphors." 



284: REMINISCENCES OF DAX EICE 

E. M. " What circumstance has led you to that conclusion, 
Mr. Eice?" 

Mr. Rice " Well, I have read that the good Lord gave to Xoah 
the vine and told him to plant it, and reap its fruit. I also read 
in the Bible that wine gives joy to the human heart/ Further 
more our Saviour turned water into wine and drank it, and even 
used it in holy communion. I find, however, that the water 
simpleton, the rich man in torment who lifted up his eyes to 
Lazarus, pleaded for a drop of water. Ah! Master, many opinions 
conflict on the wine question." 

R. M." That is very true, sir." 

Mr. Rice " Byron says, 

" i Wine invigorates the soul of man, 

Makes glow the cheek of beauty; 
Makes heroes fight and poets write, 
And friendship do its duty. r 

R. M. "Beautiful! That is a beautiful thought, sir." 

Mr. Rice " Then you appreciate it, Mr. Master? " 

JK. M . " I do, sir." 

Mr. Rice (insinuatingly) " I know why." 

R. M." Well, sir, explain why." 

Mr. Rice " Because you are in favor of wine." 

R. M. " Well, Mr. Eice, I confess I do enjoy a glass of fine 
wine at dinner." 

Mr. Rice " Then, sir, you love woman." 

R. M. " Does that necessarily follow? " 

Mr. Rice " Most assuredly! I have an authority for it." 

R. M. "Indeed?" 

Mr. Rice " Yes. It is said that a man who loves a horse, 
loves woman, and he who does not love a horse, women, or wine, 
lives a fool his whole lifetime." 

COLLOQUY. 

A young lady comes into the arena to perform her act, and the 
Eing Master, addressing the Clown, says: 

R. M." Mr. Eice, assist the lady." 

Clown " Oh, yes, a sweet maid of tender years." (The clown 
in assisting makes a painful effort and assumes an attitude as of 
suffering.) 

R. M. (assuming alarm) "Why, Mr. Eice, what is the 
matter? Have you hurt yourself lifting the lady on her horse? " 

Clown " I took a crick in my side, sir. You see, Master, I m 
getting old; it is hard to raise a girl now." 

R. M. " Yes, I see you are getting very old." 



KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN EICE 285 

Clown " Yes, Mr. blaster, but I am strong and lusty, for in 
my youth I did not apply the hot, rebellious liquors to my blood." 

"R. M. " Xo, but you have made up for it in your advanced 
years." 

Clown " You bet! I have had a heap of fun with John Bar 
leycorn, and have paid the penalty of my folly." 

R. M. " I am aware of the fact, sir. Mr. Rice, it is an old 
truism that, An honest confession is good for the soul. : 

Clown " I am glad you approve of my confession in so priestly 
a style. Xow, being absolved from the error of ray ways and 
turned over a new leaf " (hesitates). 

P. M. " Well, then, Mr. Rice, take good care it doesn t blow 
back again." 

Clown " But, Master, I am perfectly cognizant of the fact 
that, ( To err is human; to forgive divine, and you will over 
look and forgive my youthful indiscretions? " 

R. M." I do so, fully, sir." 

R. M. " Very good, Mr. Rice. Xow see what the young lady 
stopped for." 

Clown " I know what she stopped for." 

R. M. (looking earnestly at the clown). " Well, sir, what did 
she stop for?" 

Clown (innocently) " Why, you did not know, Master, that 
I m a psychologist? " 

R. M." Xo, sir." 

Clown " Yes, sir, I am, and I know what the lady stopped for 
without going to ask her." 

R. M. (cracking the whip) " Then tell me immediately, sir." 

Clown " Hold your whip. I will tell you. She stopped to 
start again, sir." 

R. M. (annoyed) " Why you ridiculous fool." 

Clown (strikes an attitude) " Xo, not ridiculous, Master; I m 
a happy fool. I m rara avis in terra, a happy man! " 

(The rider at this point starts to finish her act of horsemanship 
and in taking her graceful pose, a sudden increase of speed caused 
her to fall from her horse, fortunately landing on her feet. While 
assistants were readjusting the difficulty, there was, necessarily, 
a delay, and the clown s duty on such occasions is to draw the 
attention of the audience from the incident, and at the same time 
to so govern his remarks as to appropriately fill the gap caused 
by the sudden detention with well-timed wit and humor. Turn 
ing to the rider, he remarks): 

Clown " Don t be discouraged, young lady, you know Shakes 
peare says, 

" Woman must fall once in her life, 
Be she maid, widow, or wife. 



286 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Then turns to the Ring Master and exclaims, So fell our mother 
Eve, and Adam heard it. r 

Looking at the horse being made ready, he inquires: 

Clown " What made the young lady fall from her horse, Mr. 
Master?" 

R. M. " The horse gave a sudden start; the trappings became 
disarranged and a strap broke, striking him on the forearms/ 

Clown " And that caused him to run irregular? " 

R. M." Certainly, sir." 

Clown " Even Shakespeare knew that, for he says, ( The 
slightest alteration in the pace of the animal mars the beauty 
of the most gifted equestrian/ But it never interfers with my 
riding, Mr. Master." 

R. M." How is that, sir? " 

Clown "Why, I m like the immortal Abraham Lincoln, in 
early times in the practice of his legal profession he always trav 
elled on Shanks s Mare/ and that is the same vehicle I ride in, 
Mr, Master. But the lady landed on her feet. She must be a 
Jersey girl, Master, and gifted with a broad tire for travelling in 
the sand." 

R. M." Why so, sir?" 

Clown " Because in Jersey they have to travel in the sand, 
especially when they go shell-fishing." 



COLLOQUY. 

As a lady rider appears in the arena, the clown remarks: 
Clown " The lady is so unique and so artistic in her terpsi- 
chorean displays, that it stamps her a star." 

Jf?. M. " You are very complimentary to the lady, Mr. Bice." 
Clown (aside) " As Shakespeare says, A little flattery some 
times does well. ; 

R. M." Ah! But you cause the lady to blush." 
Clown " Why didn t you blush, Mr. Master, last evening in 
reference to yourself? " 
jf2. M. "Why so, sir?" 

Clown "When I quoted Shakespeare, and applied it, as I 
thought, most appropriately." 

R. M. " Why, I don t remember, sir. What was it? " 
Clown " I said you were a marvellously gay fellow, with a 
good leg and foot, and a whip for an emblem." 

R. M. "And I ll show you, sir, that I know how to handle 
it." (And cracks the whip, apparently striking the clown on his 
lower limbs, which causes him to assume an attitude of pain, and 
exclaim): 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX 1UCE 287 

Cloii n " Master, you have made a mistake. I never allow 
any one to feed crackers to my calves! " 

R. M. " You discover, sir, that I am not susceptible to 
flattery/ 

Clown " Then, sir, you stand isolated and alone in the world." 

#. If ._ How so, sir?" 

Clown " For Dean Swift says that, 

" It is an old maxim taught in schools, 
That flattery is the food of fools; 
And now and then the wisest wit, 
Will condescend to take a bit. 7 r 

B. M." Why, sir, I m not a fool." 

Clown " Well, according to Shakespeare and Burns, we are 
all fools to a great or less extent. Shakespeare says, A man who 
commits a foolish action is a fool for doing so. Now, show me, 
Master, one who never committed a foolish action and I will 
show you a white chicken that lays a black egg." 

7?. M." Well, what does Bobbie Burns say about it? " 

Clown " He says, 

" My son, these maxims mak a rule, 

An bind them weel togither, 
Th rigid righteous is a fool, 
Th rigid wise anither. : 

R. M. " Well, sir, that will do now. Go and see what the 
lady requires." 

Clown (aside)" Go yourself." 

(Ring Master cracks his whip as if in anger, exclaiming very 
emphatically): " What is that you say, sir? " 

Clown "I won t do anything else! Why, Master, don t get 
angry at the clown s folly. On reflection, I find that I am mis 
taken." 

R. M." Explain yourself, sir." 

Clown " Why, in my opinion, you ll never go mad, for the 
immortal Bard of Avon, my favorite author, says, Fools never 
run mad. Now I ll seek more agreeable company, and see what 
the star requires. Master, if this lady was not worthy of being 
classed in the category of equestrian constellations, still she is a 
star, in my humble judgment. For Woman is the morning- 
star of infancy, the day-star of manhood, the evening-star of age. 
Bless your stars! May we ever bask in the sunny smiles of their 
starry influence until they blow us sky high and make us see 
stars out of our own eyes! The clown moves towards the 
Master and apparently puts his finger in his eye. At the same 
time asking, " Master, did they ever make you see stars? " 



288 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

R. M." No, sir " (angrily). 

Clown " You ve not been married long enough yet. When 
you have, she ll show you." 

R. M. " But you have already shown me, sir, by putting your 
finger in my eye." (Covering his eye as if it hurt him.) " Sup 
pose, sir, you had put my eye out ? " 

Clown " I always suit the action to the word; the word to the 
action." (Ring Master, with his hand still on his eye, angrily 
chases the clown with the whip.) 

Clown (falling on his knee, imploringly raises his hands, ex 
claiming) " Master, I beg your pardon; I did not mean to hurt 
you." 

R. M. " Well, sir, rise. I forgive you." 

Clown " You do forgive me ? Then give me your hand [both 
extend hands]. That s Christian-like, Mr. Master, for as we ex 
pect forgiveness, so should we be ready to forgive. [Shakes hands 
cordially]. Now, Master, as you have been so liberal as to for 
give me, I have one request to make." 

R. M. "What is it, sir?" 

Clown (rising) " Give me 

jf?. Jf._Weil, what is it?" 

Clown " A chew of tobacco." 

R. M. " I never chew, sir. I never use the weed." 

Clown "Then you cannot give me what you do not have. You 
are in a similar fix to that of Bobbie Burns when a friend wrote 
to him for the loan of a sum of money. Burns replied: 

" A man may have an earnest heart, 

Though poverty often stares him; 
A friend can take another s part, 
But have no cash to spare him. ; 

R. M. " Now, Mr. Rice, all this is very pleasant and agree 
able, but suppose you had put my eye out when you pointed your 
finger in my face? " 

Clown " Then you would have been in the same fix that Lord 
Nelson was in when he called to the lookout, Do you see Tra 
falgar? The man replied, Yes, I think I do. The answer not 
being satisfactory to Nelson, he said, I ll go aloft and go one 
eye on it, having lost an eye in a previous engagement." 

R. M. " Do you think the great admiral saw positively what 
the lookout was not positive of? " 

Clown " Most assuredly." 

R. M. "Explain how Nelson could see accurately with one 
eye what the lookout could not with two." 

Clown "I will illustrate to you. Suppose you had lost an 
eye, you could see me with two eyes while I could see you with 



HEMINISCENCES OF DAX BICE 280 

but one. Do you see the p int, Master? Now, again, suppose I 
had put both your eyes out? " 

R. If. " Suppose you had done so, Mr. Kice, it would have 
been a most lamentable misfortune." 

Clown " I think not, from a moral standpoint, especially in 
your case." 

R, J/." How so?" 

Clown " I have read in the Good Book, i What the eye does 
not see, the heart does not grieve after. > 

COLLOQUY. 

Mr. Rice " Do you know, Mr. Master, there are six signs of 
a fool?" 

E. M." Well, what are they? " 

Mr. Rice " A fool may be known (1) In anger without cause; 
(2) In speech without profit; (3) In change without motive; (4) 
In inquiries without object; (5) In putting faith in a stranger; (6) 
In not knowing one s friends from one s foes." 

R. M. " I take issue with you, Mr. Rice, on the sixth point." 

Mr. Rice " Explain, Master." 

R. M. " He must be a brainless fool not to know his friend 
from his foe; for all animals from the highest to the lowest grade 
know a friend from a foe." 

Mr. Rice " No, no; Master, I differ with you. I don t think 
there is such a thing as a brainless fool, for no person can live 
without brains." 

R. M. " Well, I agree with you, Mr. Eice; no one can live 
without brains a great while." 

Mr. Rice " I beg to differ with you again, Mr. Master. I 
know they can live without brains." 

R. M. " Well, you are so very sharp, tell me how long a man 
can live without brains." 

Mr. Rice " Well, I can t exactly tell how long they can live 
without brains, but if any one will tell me how old you are, I ll 
tell him how long a man has lived without them." 

R. M. " Oh, sir, you are a fool indeed." 

Mr. Rice " Shakespeare says, Call me not a fool till heaven 
has sent me a fortune. Master, heaven has not been very kind 
to me. It sent me a fortune at one time, and then sent a man to 
fool me out of it." 

R. M." I ve heard so." 

Mr. Rice " I was young then; but, let them fool me now! " 

COLLOQUY. 

Mr. Rice " Let us suppose a case. If I should hit you and 
knock you down what would you do? " 
19 



290 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

R. M. " Discharge you/ 

Mr. Rice " I don t understand you." 

R. M. " I mean I would ship you off." 

Mr. Rice " Then I congratulate you,, Master/ 

R. M. "Why so, sir?" 

Mr. Rice " You would then be a shipping merchant, you 
could not locate nor go into business in a better city nor among 
more agreeable people." 

R. M. " Xo, no; you don t understand me, I mean that I 
would trade you off." 

Mr. Rice " Then you would be dealing in produce." 

R. If. "How so, sir?" 

Mr. Rice " Because you would be trading in Rice, well, who 
ever you might sell me to, they would find me a tough customer 
to chew on. I might be palatable but the devil himself couldn t 
digest me. However, whether I might be found palatable or not, 

" In my own guise I appear 

Shining dimly or bright, 
If it s shining at all 

Tis with borrowed light. 

And in speaking of the devil reminds me of hell. Do you know 

where hell is, Master? " 

R. M." No, sir, I do not; do you? " 

Mr. Rice " Yes, it is here [placing his hand upon his heart] 

each one in his life creates his own hell, and the devil is at our 

elbow." 

Mr. Rice " Some very religious people pronounce cards to be 

the devil s book. You play, I suppose?" 
E. M." Yes, sir, a little." 
Mr. Rice " A little [aside] . I saw him playing euchre on a 

cellar door yesterday." 

R. M. "What are you muttering about, sir?" 

Mr. Rice " I said I never heard you say so before. Well, 

if you do play, you ought to be fond of High, Low, Jack, and 

the Game." 

E. M. "Why so, sir?" 

Mr. Rice " Because you would be likely to win." 

R. M. " Always likely to win. Pray tell me how? " 

Mr. Rice " Because you would be always low." 

R. M. " You are impertinent, Mr. Merryman [cutting him 

with the whip] ; take that. How do you like that trick? " (Mr. 

Rice rushes and knocks him down.) 

R. M. (rising) " Zounds, sir, what do you mean by that? " 
Mr. Rice "Oh, I just thought I would throw up my hand 

and give you one to finish the game." 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 291 

The King Master commands him to hand a hoop to the rider 
and Mr. Rice runs after him. 

R. M. " Ah, sir, you came near not overtaking him; you did 
not run fast enough." 

Mr. Eice u Oh, yes, I ran fast enough, but I didn t start soon 
enough." 

P. M. " Nonsense, sir hush." 

Mr. Eice u Do you know, sir, that I once owned a horse? " 

E. M." Did you? Well, was he a good one? " 

Mr. Eice " Yes, sir; he was a first-rate one if it hadn t been 
for a couple of slight failings." 

E. M. " Pray, sir, what were they? " 

Mr. Eice " Well, sir, one was he was devilish hard to catch." 

E. M." And the other, sir? " 

Mr. Eice " Why he was good for nothing when he was 
caught." 

E. M. (cracking his whip) " You never open your mouth un 
less upon something soft." 

Mr. Eice u True, I opened upon you last." 

While exhibiting in Chicago during the war, Mr. Rice re 
marked one evening, that some of the people there were so loyal 
that they wouldn t ride in the South side cars, and while per 
forming in Philadelphia a misunderstanding occurred between 
Mr. Rice and Dr. Shelton McKenzie, the dramatic and literary 
editor of the " Press " and a gentleman of more than ordinary 
ability. At one time in early life the doctor paid his addresses 
to a young lady, but when visiting her one evening he was such 
a sticking plaster that he outraged propriety by remaining until 
very unseasonable hours. One night in particular he was more 
than usually tedious, and the lady becoming weary, in order to 
give him a hint, arose and went to the door. He followed her., 
when she dropped her handkerchief outside. He stooped and 
picked it up, upon which she said " good night " and shut the 
door. The doctor, who didn t see the point, wrote her the next 
day an apology for his abrupt departure. The anecdote was cur 
rent and Dan Rice got off the following, " Why is Dr. Shelton 
McKenzie like the artesian well at Columbus, 0.? Because both 
are great bores." The occasion for the satirical pun was in 
spired by a somewhat caustic criticism of Colonel Rice in the 
" Press." While playing at Hudson, K Y., in the year 1844, 
during the anti-rent war, Mr. Rice, then a comparative novice, 
perpetrated his first conundrum. The leader of the insurrection, 
Icnown as " Big Thunder," was captured by Judge Edmunds, of 
Xew York, and sentenced to be confined in jail, or, in Xew 
York slang of the day, " the Jug." " Why," asked Dan of the 



292 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

King Master, " is Judge Edmunds a greater man than Dr. Frank- 
lyn?" and the answer was "Because Franklyn merely bottled 
lightning, but Judge Edmunds jugged Thunder." 

During the bloomer dress era when short skirts and long panta 
lets were the prevailing style with the followers of the aggressive, 
strong-minded females, Dan Rice got off the following while ex 
hibiting in Rochester, N. Y., then the headquarters of the 
Bloomers. 

Hice " Master, have you noticed how the fashion of short 
skirts and long pantalets is becoming general with the ladies? " 

E. M. " I have, sir. Do you object to the style? " 

Rice " Oh, no, sir; I go in for the largest kind of liberty in 
dress as in everything else; Fve reduced my idea into rhyme." 

E. M." Well, sir, let us hear it." 

Rice 

" Let the dames of America do as they please; 
Should they all cut their petticoats round by the knees, 

Tis only a bold protestation 
Against a bad habit called sputans in Latin, 
That spoils every place where their husbands have sat in, 
Defiles all their carpets and dirties their matting! 

And sticks to the skirts of the nation! 
Don t fancy, dear sir, that ladies are flirts 
Because they have cut their old dangles the skirts, 
They have done it to shame you they readily own, 
And will lengthen their habits when you mend your own." 

Rice " Master, did you ever enjoy a full-breasted kiss? " 

R m M." What kind of a kiss is that? " 

Rice " I ll give you an illustration. A lady friend of my 
wife says that the first time she was kissed she felt like a big tub 
of roses swimming in honey, cologne, nutmegs, and cranberries. 
She also felt as if something was running through her nerves on 
the foot of diamonds escorted by angels, shaded by honeysuckles, 
and the whole spread with the melted rainbows. Jerusalem! 
what power there is in a full -breasted kiss." 

E. M. " Well, sir, I never enjoyed that sort of a kiss." 

Rice " I thought not; now, Master, do you know that I can 
prove that an Irishman s mud cabin is better than heaven? " 

E. M. " No, sir, you cannot prove it." 

Ri ce Now listen, ain t a mud cabin better than nothing? " 

E. M. " Certainly it is better than nothing." 

Rice "And nothing is better than heaven, ergo, the Irish 
man s mud cabin is better than heaven. Master, I can prove that 
a cat has three tails." 

E. M . " Granted." 



BEMINISCEKCES 01* >AX lUCE" 293 

Pice " Then a cat has one tail more than no cat. Do you 
see the point? " 

R. M." Yes, but I don t see the three tails." 

Rice " By the way, Master, I saw you elbowing your way 
through a crowd yesterday." 

It. M. " Yes, sir, I was in a hurry. 7 

Rice " Did you poke your elbow into any person s stomach ? " 

R. M. " No, sir, I did not injure any person s stomach." 

Rice " No, the only stomach likely to be injured by the crook 
of your elbow is your own." 

R. M. " Do you mean, sir, that I am addicted to drinking? " 

R ice " Oh, no, but I have heard that you were troubled by 
snakes, and you know hard drinking cures the bite. Say, Master, 
have you made your will?" 

E. j|/._ Xo, sir. Have you? 

Rice " Oh, yes, and it is short and sweet. It reads I have 
nothing, I owe nothing, and I give the rest to the poor. Now 
why do they call a powerful mind a high wind? " 

R. M." I can t say, sir." 

Rice "Well, sir, the wind is the merriest and maddest and 
saddest and gladdest of pipers in the world. He makes all things 
his instrument. He whistles on the reed and sighs on the flag. 
Sometimes he makes a chimney his mouthpiece; then the tunes 
he plays on a single smoke-pipe are the wildest and he puffs and 
blows and smokes like a burgomaster. And speaking of the wind, 
master, do you know that it has been all day blowing a terrible 
gale?" 

R. N. " Yes, I found it very disagreeable walking the 
streets." 

Rice " No doubt. I noticed an impromptu race in the street." 

R. M." What sort of a race? " 

Rice " A race for a hat. May I ask you a single question ? " 

R m M." Why, yes sir, ask it." 

Pice " Can you tell me what a mathematical wind is? " 

R, M." I give it up." 

Rice " A wind that extracts roots from the earth." 

R. M. " Why, sir, that is mere nonsense." . 

Rice " Well, sir, that is my business here and it is my province 
to indulge in every species of nonsense, so that laughter may hold 
his sway, and for which I ve labored night and day. Hide, blue 
devils, fly and drive dull grief from even 7 " face and eye. By the 
way, Master, I hear that you are dabbling in coal oil." 

R. M. " I think of embarking in that trade. What is your 
opinion of coal oil ? " 

Pice " Coal oil, sir, is the perspiration of bit-u-min-ous coal, 
and being an offspring of bit-u-men it signifies or implies that 



294 REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 

you men will get bit. Master, we were speaking of nonsense just 
now, would you like to know the most nonsensical thing I ever 
came in contact with? " 

R. M." Well, sir, what was it? " 

Rice " It was at Saratoga Springs in the State of New York. 
A young man got married in the early part of the evening and 
then sat up the balance of the night courting his wife." 

R. M. " He must have been a verdant young gentleman." 

Ri ce Yes, a bigger fool than Thompson s colt. I say. Mas 
ter, do you know the greatest case on record of absence of mind? " 

R. M . "No, sir." 

Rice " A married lady put a house cloth in the cradle and 
wiped up the floor with her baby." 

R. M. " Now, sir, how do you know so much about it? " 

Rice " I was there." 

R. M. " Then tell me how did she discover her mistake? " 

Rice " Why, Master, she discovered her mistake when she 
wrung out the baby." 

R. M. (cracking his whip) " Such nonsense is ridiculous." 

Rice " Then you don t appreciate it. Don t you know that 
" A little nonsense now and then 
Is relished by the wisest men 
(aside) but he don t see it, he s a fool." 

R. M. "What was that you said, sir? Did you call me a 
fool?" 

Rice " No, sir, I said keep cool." 

AT THE NATIONAL THEATRE, PHILADELPHIA. 

Rice " Master, you read and studied a deal in your time." 

R. M." Yes, sir, I have." 

Rice " You have read ancient and modern history, I pre 
sume ? " 

E. M." I have, sir." 

Rice " You have read the twelve Apostles? " 

12. M." Yes, sir." 

Rice" The -twelve Caesars? " 

R t M." Yes, sir." 

Rice" The nine muses? " 

R. M." Yes, sir." 

Rice "The seven champions of Christendom?" 

R, M." Yes, sir." 

Rice " And the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Inde 
pendence who penned the death warrant of tyranny?" 

R m If. "Yes, sir." 

Rice " You have read em all, have you? " 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 295 

R. M." I have, sir." 

Rice " Did you ever read of the six great Daniels or Dans? " 

R. M. " No, sir, I have not; have you? " 

Rice " Yes sir, I have." 

R, M." Well, who are they? " 

Rice " There was Dan the prophet, whose fame no one dared 
scoff at; there was Dan Lambert the stout, history says died with 
the gout; there was old Dan Tucker, who was too late for his 
supper; there was Daniel O Connell the agitator, who, by the by, 
was no small potato; there was Dan Webster, the expounder, 
whose word weighed a pound, sir; and here s Dan Rice, the fool, 
who sends jackasses to school." 

This last was in allusion to his having accomplished a hitherto 
deemed impossible task in the education of a stubborn mule; he 
being the first and only man that had ever succeeded in develop 
ing the intellect of such an animal, whose performance invariably 
provoked more laughter than any other comic scene in the circle, 
at the same time was demonstrated the wonderful capacity of 
Mr. Rice in stimulating the intellect of so dull, obstinate, and 
unmanageable a brute. It is a fact that during his professional 
career he trained four pairs of those animals which he disposed 
of to other shows for $5,000 a pair. 

Ring Master is about walking off. 

Rice "Where are you going, Master?" 

R. M. " I am warm, and I m going to get a little air." 

Rice "Going to get a little heir, eh? Well, sir, name him 
after me." 

R. M. " You seem to be very happy this evening." 

Rice " Yes, sir, as the Irishman says, I m as happy as a flea 
in a blanket. 

R. M. " Well, I can readily account for your happiness." 

Rice " Row so? " 

R. M. " You ve got a charming, beautiful wife." 

Rice "Look here, we ve always been friendly, haven t we?" 

R. M." Of course we have, Mr. Rice." 

Rice " And you wish to continue so ? " 

R. M." Most assuredly I do." 

Rice " Then avoid such compliments in the future." 

R. M." Why what remark did I make to offend? " 

R ice " You are a frequent visitor to my house, ain t you? " 

E. M." Why, yes." 

Rice " And I have always treated you in a hospitable man 
ner? " 

R. M. " You certainly have." 

Rice " Then don t you ever again remark that I ve got a 
charming young wife." " 



296 KEMIHISCENCES OF DAN 

E. Jf. "Why, Rice? There s nothing in it." 
Eice " No, but there migh t be." 

In her principal act the equestrienne fell from her horse. Mr. 
Eice asked the Ring Master what made the lady fall. The Ring 
Master replied that she lost her equilibrium, whereupon Mr. Rice 
goes peering around the ring. 

E. M. u What are you looking for, sir? " 

Eice (innocently) " I m looking for the lady s equilibrium." 

E. M. " Oh, you stupid fellow; I meant that she had lost her 
balance." 

Eice " Don t you know, Master, that woman is less pliable 
than man? " 

E. M." Prove it, sir." 

Rice " I will, in rhyme." 

" Said a gent once contending how high in the scale 
Stood man above woman so feeble and frail, 
When the trial of virtue and vice first began, 
Satan durst not present his temptation to man. 
Nay/ answered the fair one, say not that he " dared," 
The old serpent knew well that some pains might be spared. 
" For," thought he, " if I first get the man in my chain, 
The most difficult part of my task will remain, 
But could I succeed the fair Eve to allure, 
Adam follows of course, and then both are secure." ; 
So cease your proud boast of man s firmness and own 
If superior either, the woman s the one, 
Since a woman could overcome Adam, poor elf, 
But to overcome woman, took Satan himself." 

The following colloquy took place in Brooklyn, N. Y., during 
the celebrated trial of Henry Ward Beecher. 

E. M. " Why, Mr. Rice, you look sad this evening; I mean 
that you appear in a reflective mood." 

Rice " Well, sir, can t a fool have his moments of reflection? 
Why, Master, there are times when I am a melancholy fool." 

E. M. " Well, cheer up, cheer up, and tell me what you are 
thinking about." 

Eice " I was thinking of what Shakespeare says in one of his 
plays, 



" ( 



Man is but a walking shadow, 

A poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, 

And is heard no more, 

A tale told by an idiot 

Full of sound and fury signifying nothing. ; 



EEMINISCENCES OF DAX EICE 297 

7?. M. " True, most true." 

Rice " However, Master, it is but nature; sooner or later we 
have all got to return to mother earth. Did you ever reflect, 
Master, that we came from the dust, and all through life we kick 
up a dust trying to throw dust into each other s eyes, until old 
Father Time, the Universal Duster, calls all, both great and 
small, to his universal dust-hole the earth. What a sweeping 
time there will be when that takes place; when all mankind and 
all womenkind are trans-magnified and metamorphosed back to 
their original powder, the dust. And it will take a very large 
broom, too, I am thinking, as large as eighty acres of forest trees 
tied all together. Then dukes, dandies, potentates, politicians, 
in fact, old, young, good, bad, indifferent, regardless of color or 
previous condition will be swept off like flies off the bung-hole 
of a molasses cask. Oh, let us hope while going back to our 
original element that the grains of human virtue may be sepa 
rated and rise up as clouds of grateful incense to its Creator. 
(The Ring Master smiled.) I see that you smile, Master. You 
have cause to smile, for I rarely imitate men at all, and when I 
do strive to imitate his virtues and not his follies, and a man 
might possibly be worse employed than in imitating so distin 
guished a divine as Henry Ward Beecher (puts his finger to his 
nose and winks). And, Master, there was a certain occasion 
when I would very much have liked to imitate him." There 
was silence for a minute until the audience saw the point, and 
then a universal roar. 

Eice shied his hat at the Eing Master, who kicked it. 

Rice " I dare you to do that again." (Eing Master kicks 
it.) 

Rice " You dare not kick it again." (Again he kicks it.) 

Rice " Xow, I m getting mad; let us see you do it again." 
(Eing Master kicks it around the ring.) 

Rice " Well, keep at it; I dare you to kick it all night." 
(Eing Master turns away.) Mr. Eice thus apostrophises the hat: 
" Ill-used castor, the hour of retribution is at hand and you shall 
be avenged. No longer shall your venerable years be insulted. 
I w r ill avenge your wrongs." 

(Sings) " We have lived and loved together 

In sunshine and in shade, 
You ve shielded me in wet weather, 
And warmed my aching head, 
But though you re old and napless, 
And spurned by fashion s crew, 
Old friend, however hapless, 
I ll still to you prove true." 



298 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

Dan Rice to his Ring Master on Louis Philippe abdicating the 
throne of France: 

Louis Philippe, King of France, was xtravagantly xtolled, 
xceedingly xecrated. He xhibited xtraordinary xcellence in 
xigency; he was xemplary in xternals, xtrinsic on xamination. 
He was xtatic under xhortation, xtreme in xcitement and xtraor 
dinary in xtempore xpressions. He was xpatriated for xcesses, 
and to xpiate his xtravagance, xists in xile. 

Dead? No, still lives! For what sunshine and shade are to 
the grateful earth the strains of Shakespeare are to the human 
heart. 

Clown (to his master) " I went shopping to-day, for my wife." 

Master" What did you get? " 

Clown " I bought a new hat. Oh, it was a tiresome job." 

Master "Why so?" 

Clown " After I bought it I ran all the way back to the hotel 
with it." 

Master "Why BO?" 

Clown " For fear the fashion would change before I reached 
there." 

" You are rude," said the Ring Master, " and I feel that all my 
instruction is lost upon you." 
Clown " What have I done ? " 
Master " You appear better fed than taught." 
Clown " Yes, I feed myself, and you teach me! " 

RICE THE RATIONALIST, PHILOSOPHER AND MORALIST. 

A more interesting and instructive insight to the philosophic 
side of Rice as a student of human nature, a dissector of the mo 
tives of his fellow-men, the causes and effects of human conduct, 
the pleasures, pains, and penalties born of the hopes, ambitions, 
follies and frailties, vices and virtues, loves and friendships of 
his kind, could scarcely be furnished with more strange and 
startling force than may be found in the following fragmentary 
excerpts, pregnant as they are with thoughts that touch the deep 
est depths of worldly wit, wisdom, and scathing satire, softened 
by a veil of sincerest sympathy, and enveloped throughout by a 
cloak of ennobling and inspiring forbearance, pity, and Christian 
charity. His love of mother nature, mortal life, of human lib 
erty, are illustrated with an eloquent economy and forceful pithi 
ness of expression that cannot but impress the reader with an 
added sense of his greatness of heart and nobility of nature. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 290 



THE CLOWN S WISDOM. 

He ever is assured whose heart is open to the eye of day, who 
wears no lurking danger in his smiles, nor dreams of tigers 
hearts beneath the fleece of inoffensive flocks; what should I fear? 
Shall I embitter all the joys of life to shrink from death and die 
in my own fears? While naught but poisoned bowls and air- 
drawn daggers and treacherous friends or enemies disguised, and 
snares and lures and dark conspiracies flit through the fevered 
brain in endless terror, beset the affrighted soul and prey upon 
it, till naught remains of life, but dread of death, and all of death 
is suffered but the name. I pause no longer; flood or ebb in for 
tune, he rides the waves triumphant; the ills of life, the tests and 
touch stones of external glory, by which alone its currency is 
tried, and sterling coin distinguished from the false, increase his 
weight and stamp new value on him. 

CONTENTMENT. 

I have seen men in tempests of passion, in the greatest depths 
of grief; the former I have always found easily subdued, the latter 
readily consoled. All that is required is to know the spring of 
the heart. The grave is the only grief that has temporal hope 
there, the only cure is to look beyond it. 

SILENCE. 

Silence, the watchful sentinel of night, with noiseless step and 
undiverted ear challenged each sound. 

Romantic love is like the cataract which foams and rages while 
impediments obstruct its swelling serge. Give it full sway, and 
lo, its silvery sheen glides gently on and lulls itself to sleep with 
its own music. 

Like a man who walks backward to destruction and looks at the 
stars or sun to the last. 

How times are changed. Now Prim plays the lover, and Eng 
land s Helen rushes to his arms; while all the pride and pomp 
of chivalry smile on the triumph of three-score and ten. The 
rose of spring clasped in the arms of winter, the aloe would befit 
his highness better; it blooms but once in sixty years. 

I ve borne these ribald jests beyond that point where patience 
is a virtue. Provoke my rage no longer, tis not mete that we 



300 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

should prattle of our inmost griefs; but there are depths within 
this wounded heart, which, probed unskilfully, result in death 
to patient or physician. 

We ll talk no more of women; the winds and waves shall now 
our topics be, they are not more changeful and less perilous. 

Oh, Alexander; what a soul was thine, that in the prime of 
manhood and of love decked with a thousand triumphs could 
resist the matchless Persian beauty, Bright Satira. 

The ruling passion is a substitute for courage. If a man be a 
coward, only offend his ruling passion and he becomes brave in 
its defence. Look at the miser defending his gold. 

EPITAPHS. 

Torn from us in the springtime of his heart; sundered from 
those dear arms that clung around thee in all thy loveliness, what 
now remains with the survivors to allay their griefs but the rich 
memory of thy spotless life, radiant with hope and redolent with 
virtue, and pointing to those bright realms of endless joy whose 
earthly portal is the peaceful grave. 

Exalted virtue and undying faith in the atoning blood of 
Calvary, an earnest of beatitude to come. Why should survivors 
mourn the pious dead, who, having shaken off life s weary load, 
mount at the regions of eternal bliss, and rest upon the bosom of 
their God. 

" Music hath charms to sooth the savage beast, to soften rocks, 
or bend the knotted oak. I ve read that things inanimate have 
moved, and have numbers and persuasive sounds." 

TIME. 

The man that takes twice as much time to accomplish an 
object as is necessary, abridges his life one-half, and nearly de 
stroys the other half by an acquired sluggishness and supineness. 

Why is it that you trim your plants and your trees to remove 
what is decayed and offensive to the sight, and to promote the 
growth of that which remains? The very storms that visit the 
forest remove the rotten or useless portions of the limbs and 
branches, and thereby increase their general growth and beauty 
such are the benefits of adversity. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 301 

A well-provided breast hopes in adversity and fears in pros 
perity. 

Xo vice so bad as virtue run mad. 



KOGUES IN EELIGIOUS ROBES. 
Men who sometimes watch and pray, ofttimes watch to prey. 

The argument resembles a peacock s tail, filled with beautiful 
plumage, but supported by deformed and hideous legs. 

There is holy love and a holy rage, and our best virtues never 
glow so brightly as when our passions are excited in the cause. 
Sloth, if it has prevented many crimes, has also smothered many 
virtues, and the best of us are better when roused. Passions 
are to virtue what wine was to Eschylus and Annius under its 
inspiration their powers were at their height. 

To MAKE LOVE. 

If you cannot inspire a woman with love for you, fill her above 
the brim with love for herself; all that runs over will be yours. 

A false friend is like a shadow on a dial, it appears in clear 
weather but vanishes as soon as a cloud appears. 

To BE HAPPY. 

Be honest not only in your dealings through life with your 
fellow-man, but be honest in thought and never allow your neces 
sities, be they ever so great and pressing, to force you into the 
doing of an act that will either compromise your self-respect or 
forfeit your integrity. 

LAWS OF NATURE. 

They are just but terrible, there is no weak mercy in them. 
Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable; the ele 
ments have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, 
the air consumes, the earth buries, and perhaps it would be well 
for our race if the punishment for crimes against the laws of man 
were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the laws 
of nature were man as unerring in his judgment as nature. 



302 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Two LIVES. 

There are two lives to each of us, gliding on at the same time, 
scarcely connected with each other the life of our existence and 
the life of our minds; the external and the inward history, the 
movements of the frame, the deep and ever restless workings of 
the heart. They who have loved know that there is a diary of 
the affections which we might keep for years without having 
occasion even to touch upon the exterior surface of life, our busy 
occupations, the mechanical progress of our existence, yet by 
the last we are judged, the first is never known. 

Preserve integrity. The consciousness of thine own Tightness 
will alleviate the toil of business, and soften the harshness of 
disappointment and give thee a humble confidence before God 
when the ingratitude of man or the iniquity of the times may rob 
you of all other due reward. 

If crazy knave built on this construction, deaths decrees shall 
lose their bloody impress, and become a passport to regal enter 
tainment. 

ADVICE. 

What s in your breast let no one know, 
Nor to your friend your secret show. 
For when your friend becomes your foe, 
Then will the world your secret know. 

Punctuality begets confidence, temperance the best physic, 
honesty the best policy, which is the sure road to honor and 
respect. 

Good actions know themselves with lasting bays, 
Who well deserves, needs not another s praise. 



CAPITAL VERSUS LABOR. 

The attitude of capital toward labor is a gigantic blunder, be 
cause it is in direct conflict with the requirements of the golden 
rule, which most capitalists profess and which few of them or 
any other class practice. They forget that labor is no longer 
abject; labor may be unreasonable, brutal, even mad at times, 
but it has ceased to be afraid; it has attained dignity of self- 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAX EICE 



303 



respect. Why does not capital see the " handwriting on the 
wall," and meet labor in a Christian spirit. Why this church- 
going if ye lived not up to the teachings of the Golden Rule. 
Labor asks for arbitration, why not; it is a fact that labor has 
ceased asking permission to live in the world; it has ceased to 
kneel; it no longer takes off its hat; labor is erect, it has intelli 
gence; is ever worthy of its hire, and it knows what it has done, 
and is still doing for the world; it knows that it has been robbed 
and it proposes a new regime, as Bobby Burns says, 

" What tho on hamely fare we dine, 
Wear hoddin gray and a that; 
Gie fools their silks and knaves their wine, 
A man s a man for a that." 

Where is that palace where into foul things sometimes intrude 
not; who has a breast so pure, but some uncouth apprehension 
keeps leet and law days, and in sessions sits with meditations 
lawful. 

ADVICE. 

If we cannot derive support from religion, it is not that reli 
gion cannot furnish it, but because we want faith in its efficiency. 
God elects all who elect him. 

A man who spends his life getting even, for real or supposed 
injuries, is an enemy to himself and a traitor to his friends. 

For heaven s sake a quiet life, a constant friend, a loving wife, 
a good repute, a fund in store, oh! what can man desire more. 

For every evil under the sun, there s a remedy or there s none; 
if there be one, go find it; if there be none, never mind it. 

In faith and hope, the world will disagree, but all mankind con 
tinue in charity. 

Mine is the hand should strike the deadly blow, and mine the 
eye should look unwavering on. 

We think more of ourselves than of others, and more for others 
than ourselves. 

A wise man always hesitates to judge another s sin, 

It s good old common sense to wait till all the facts are in. 



304 REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 

Ye would be leaders, shame upon ye; leaders who never yet 
have learned to follow where glory marked the way, hence to 
your homes, is this a fit occasion when Spain s fortunes stand 
likely equipois d in fate s dread balance, and heaven and earth 
pause on her destiny, thus by inglorious faction to provoke the 
special vengeance of superior powers; but what care you for life s 
vicissitudes; the night storm drives harmless over your heads, 
none but the great, the good, the God-like, feel it. You are 
below its fury. 

SILENT PIETY. 

I bend me towards the tiny flower, that underneath this tree, 
Opens its little breast of sweets, in meekest modesty; 

And breathes the eloquence of love, 

A cypress, not a bosom, hides my poor heart. 

INNOCENCE. 
The harvest of a quiet eye that broods and sleeps on its heart. 

MARCH. 

Beautiful, uncertain weather, 

When storm and sunshine meet together. 

CHEERFULNESS. 

With earth it seems grave holiday, in heaven it looks high 
jubilee. 

They lack all heart who cannot feel the voice of heaven within 
them thrill. 

SEVERED AFFECTIONS. 
Heart bankrupts both are made. 

REDEEM THE TIME. 

Reflection cannot shun the shaft of fate, 

Endure it as she may, 

Thought is too slow, 

Resting on past to meet approaching woe. 

0, my mother; in that sacred name how many hours of guile 
less happiness, of sportive and uncheckered innocence roll back 
upon the ocean of past years, and burst upon the view. 



REMIX ISC EXCES OF DAX RICE 305 



DEATH AND VIRTUE. 

Death, the destroyer, from thy potent spell no sex, nor age, nor 
strength, nor weakness scapes Time s hoary locks; the ringlets 
of gay youth; the hero s laurel and the poet s wreath love, 
honor, health, and beauty are thy spoil; the mitred and the 
sceptred yield to thee, in deferential honor, all, all submit, save 
Virtue, who in radiant smiles beholds thy dread approach and 
arm d in heaven proof. 

It is said that in every situation pecuniary competency is neces 
sary to happiness; this is a great error, this w r ould be to degrade 
and destroy the lofty character of man, who, in truth, depends 
upon nothing for his happiness but a virtuous life and unlimited 
faith in his Creator; that a dollar more or less should exercise 
any influence upon his position, as rightly understood, is to make 
him the meanest, instead of the noblest, of God s creatures. 



POWER. 
Whose smile was fortune, and whose will was power. 

Fortune attends his smile ere she turns her wheel, and Fate 
awaits his sigh ere she signs her fiats. 

Xothing tranquilizes excited and angry passions more, or con 
veys a more salutary lesson to the mind in soothing or composing 
it, than the sight of a sleeping infant, climbing to the nest of the 
vulture and finding a trembling dove within. 

When I see children struggling in hostility over a parent s 
grave, or when I behold Mammon thrusting his guilty, gilded 
hand between hearts that were made for each other, between 
"Brethren who should dwell together in unity," I thank God I 
was not made like other men. 

I ve searched with care the page of life, 
And learned of man the common lot, 

He lives his days are toil and strife 
He dies and is forgot. 

What lineage has yon fair and radiant star, that bears the 
stamp of an immortal hand? What orbit does it move in but its 
own: shines in but its own pure and pristine light, not like your 
own fair moon that glows in borrowed light. 
20 



306 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 



VICE. 

The martyrs to vice far exceed the martyrs to virtue, both in 
endurance and in numbers. So blinded are we by our passions 
that we suffer more to be damned than to be saved. 



LOYE. 

Why cease to love or cease to be beloved? The great Creator 
taught the breast to glow with generous emotion, and cling close 
to sympathetic arms as to life itself. What is the glare of pomp 
and pride of pageantry? They cannot buy, vain-glorious as they 
are, the least emotion that I feel for thee; who is the richer then, 
the wretch that hugs his golden hoard and nightly gloats upon it, 
or the warm spirit that shakes off its chains? 

Faults self-reproach are more than half atoned, and prompt 
repentance does the work of mercy. 

hard condition that makes the princely state of wretchedness 
supreme as well as proud. The humble man toils .and sweats 
from morn till eventide, still sits supreme upon his bosomed 
throne in native majesty and sways the heart to his own purpose, 
loves and is loved, and in the dwarf delight of mutual joy looks 
down upon the worldly pageantry, the pride, the pomp, the tu 
mult and the parade that hides the anguished soul and drowns 
its groans. 

The heart can never learn to throb by rule or shun what it 
adores. Friendship may swell to love and fill the soul, but love 
can never shrink to friendship till it dies. Extremes beget ex 
tremes, and sometimes hate usurps the throne of tenderness and 
joy, and riots in their pain. True love shudders at diminution 
as at death. Nay it is death, the glowing heart is cold, is cheer 
less, all its charms are lost, and from its former height it sinks 
at once to the low level of the instinctive brute. 

His tongue took an oath but his heart was unsworn. 

There is nothing earthly that is not dependent upon something 
else earthly; while all depend upon the Creator. 

A woman if she maintain her husband, is full of anger, im 
pudence, and reproach. 

Those powers that are most terrible in action are always most 
tranquil in repose. Look at the glossy surface of the smiling 



EEMIX1SCEXCES OF DAX KICE 307 

ocean when kissed by the southern breeze just ready to expire, 
and then imagine the terrors of the storm. Look at the sleeping 
lion, and fancy, if you can, the same animal roaring and rampant 
for his prey. Look at Samson slumbering in the lap of Delilah, 
and who but shudders at the fate of the Philistines? The tran 
quillity is increased by the unconscious comparison or rather con 
trast between extremes, or presented by the same object. 

Care still delves its deepest furrows in the fairest, softest brain; 
brightest eyes are dimmed with sorrowing; ruby lips shall cease 
to glow. 

He wielded neither the keen scimitar of Saladin, nor the pon 
derous battle-axe of Richard, but the dull cleaver of a cold 
blooded butcher. 



LIKE A LILY LOLLING ox A ROSE. 

Prayer was not invented for man; man was born to pray. Man 
was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for 
man. 

Quote not the vices of philosophy to justify indulgence of your 
own, but emulate her virtues, if you -can. The love that twines 
most closely round the heart disdains the use of words and shuns 
the eye-like truth, despising outward ornament in native worth. 
The God you worship bends a feeble bow and dips his shaft in 
wine; the wound soon heals. 



IXTOLERAXCE IN RELIGION. 

A war against Catholics would involve a war against natives, 
and not only a religious but a social and domestic war of neighbor 
against neighbor, brother against brother, husband against wife, 
parent against child, and child against parent. 

Good springs from evil, strength out of weakness; the pen that 
governs, guards, adorns, and sustains empires was plucked from 
the wing of a goose. 

Silent they sit, all faculties absorbed by black despair, the 
world has vanished and the soul is dead to earthly sympathies, 
to earthly care, brooding alone on its eternal fate and prostrate 
in the presence of its God. 



308 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

METAPHYSICS. 

The souls of idiots are of the same pieces as those of statesmen, 
but now and then nature is at fault, and this good guest of ours 
takes soil in an imperfect body, and so is slackened in showing 
her wonders, like an excellent musician that cannot utter himself 
upon a defective instrument. 

LOVE. 

All thought, all passion, all delight, whatever stirs this mortal 
frame, all are but ministers of love and feed its sacred flame. 

HAPPY PAIR. 

Crown them with joys perennial, ye blest powers, and guard 
their hearts gainst agonies like mine, too grave to bear, too 
poignant to conceal. 

Think st thou I would transplant that fragile flower, from the 
gay parterre which it now adorns, exhaling odors on the vernal 
gale, to pine and perish on this winter s bed? 

MODERATION IN SUCCESS. 

Be wary of success, and bear it wisely, as best becomes the 
changing tides of life; let not the siren and seductive wiles of 
proud prosperity ensnare your heart. Self-conquest is the best 
and proudest triumph, and victory without it is defeat. 

HAPPINESS. 

Blest recompense of evils and dangers past, come to this heart, 
and therefore reign, thou art the victor, Maria let me crown 
thee with thy own work chains best become the captive. 

AFFECTION. 

The feeblest impulse that affection feels is worth a kingdom. 
Kingdoms cannot buy it. It springs spontaneous in the human 
heart, unbrib d, unfetter d precious as the blood that thrills in 
circling eddies through the veins offspring of life s citadel. 
Millions of tribute which unwilling hand pays while the soul 
withholds its sympathy or shrinks from the exaction. What are 
they, but the dull and slavish homage of a slave giving what 
fear forbids him to refuse or power resistless ever may enforce. 
What mutuality can this bespeak beyond external seeming; the 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 309 

base traffic of sordid worldings wedded to themselves giving to 
take or yielding to receive. 



FRIENDSHIP. 

For weary anxious years in camps, in courts,, in grief, and 
management we have been more than brothers. Tell me then, 
what good or evil has befallen thee, that I may share the one, 
redress the other. 

Who dares to love, yet dares not show his love to the object 
that inspires it; say she s a queen, in love she is a subject; the 
crown begirts her head, but not her heart. The heart s a woman s 
throne, tis there she reigns, tis there she rules, is ruled, and 
must be won. 

NIGHT. 

The glare of day, the grosser glare of pomp, is past, and now 
the noon of night prevails. Distracted and excursive thoughts 
return freighted with good or ill, and cast their load of joy or 
grief on the expectant heart. And how sweet, how beautiful is 
the night; how mild, yet how luxuriant are the rays that beam 
from yon cerulean monarchy. Pale Cynthia and all her starry 
train o er a tempestuous world lull d to repose, transient, short 
lived repose. To-morrow s dawn shall wake the slumberers and 
renew their toil. 

VALOR. 

Put up your weapon till the time shall serve; this is no scene 
for blood. Valor that needs the tongue s loud flourish, and a 
lady s eye, may well be doubted; though I doubt not yours. Your 
courage, sir, will keep so let us part. How we shall meet how 
part when met let time and fate determine. 



ARISTOCRACY. 

The aristocracy pull off their hats to those whom they hate; 
the democracy will not do it to those whom they love. There is 
more policy in one, more honesty in the other. 

Hear this, ye Gods: Where sleep your thunderbolts, that thus 
the guilty triumph in their guilt, and bold impiety out-faces 
heaven, 



310 REMINISCENCES OF DAX ItiCE 



RESOLUTION. 

Courage, my friends; remember that this hour shall make your 
fame eternal as the stars,, should fortune smile upon you. Should 
she frown, why let her frown, at worst we can but die, and dying 
in defence of virtue s freedom, is to subdue the unpropitious 
Gods, and win those honors which stern fate denies. 

TRANSIENT BEAUTY. 

For women are as roses, whose fair flower being once displayed 
doth fall that very hour. 

Simplest strains do soonest sound the deep founts of the 
heart. 

Men take more pains for this world than heaven would cost 
them; and when they have what they aim at, do not live long to 
enjoy it. The grave lies unseen between us and the object which 
we reach after. When one lives to enjoy whatever he has in 
view, ten thousand are cut off in pursuit of it; so runs the giddy 
world away. 

So idle are dull readers, and so industrious are dull authors 
that puffed nonsense bids fair to blow unpuffed sense wholly out 
of the field. 

Contemporaries appreciate the man, rather than the merit, but 
posterity will regard the merit rather than man. 

A rugged countenance often conceals the warmest heart, as the 
richest pearl sleeps in the roughest shell. 

Test the gratitude of men when you can do without it; never 
rely upon it. In our emergency friendship then, or love, is the 
only dependence. Religion is the consolation where all other 
resources fail. That never fails. 

Great men, like comets, are eccentric in their causes, and 
formed to do extensive good by modes unintelligible to vulgar 
minds, hence, like those erratic orbs in the firmament, it is their 
fate to be misrepresented by knaves, to be abused for all the 
good they actually do, and to be accused of ills with which they 
have nothing to do, neither in design nor execution. 

It is easier to pretend to be what you are not, than to hide what 
you really are; he that can accomplish both has little to learn in 




WILLIAM F. WALLETT 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 311 

hypocrisy. In our attempt to deceive the world they are the 
most likely to detect us who are sailing on the same tack, or, in 
other words, set a rogue to catch a rogue. 

Grant graciously what you cannot refuse safely, and conciliate 
those you cannot conquer. 

ENVY. 

Envy as the rays of the sun, notwithstanding their velocity, 
injure not ye by their minuteness, so the attacks of envy, notwith 
standing their number, ought not to wound our virtue by reason 
of their insignificance; for envy and detraction are the inevitable 
attendants to genius, for why should the eagle wince at the hos 
tile g}<rations of the vulture. Again envy surrounded on all 
sides by the brightness of another s prosperity, like the scorpion 
confined within his circle of fire will sting itself to death. 

A BLACKGUARD. 

If you cannot avoid a quarrel with a blackguard, let your 
opponent manage it rather than yourself. No man sweeps his 
own chimney, but employs a chimney sweeper who has no objec 
tion to the dirty work it is his trade. 

PULPIT ELOQUENCE. 

The greatest difficulty is to give the subject all the dignity it 
so fully deserves without attaching any importance to self. Some 
preachers reverse the thing; they give so much importance to 
themselves that they have none left for the subject. 

In the company of the woman you love it is difficult to avoid 
two follies, rhapsody and silence. Fortunately the first is never 
esteemed by her as folly, and the last is considered as the still 
ness of brooding love. 

KNOWLEDGE. 

If a man empties his purse in his head no one can take it away 
from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best 
interest. 

IRRATIONAL FEARS. 

Our doubts are traitors to heaven and ourselves, and antedate 
our doom, The craven heart that shuns impending peril expires 



312 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

on its own spear, while dauntless courage grapples with death, 
and rends his terrors from him. Had 1 a thousand lives, and 
each immortal, Pd jeopard all for the last hour of honor. 

When traitors shall grow weary of their lives, fate has sup 
plied them other means of death than staining with their blood 
an honest sword. 

His parting w r ords sink like a funeral knell into my soul, and 
freeze my blood with horror. The fading day, the death-like 
sleep of nature, the treacherous calm that rests upon creation, 
and the deep torpor that invests my brain, are the precursors of 
calamity. 

WAR. 

Why should we talk of war when wine inspires our hearts with 
thrilling ecstacy; let frigid cynics scoff at Cupid s chains, no 
valued trophy that the hero wears clings half so closely to the 
heart as love. 

Tinsel and trappings still have virtue in them. 
A block of frieze would cover twenty lords. 

POPULAR FUROR. 

Where are the people, the Sertoria band, who cling around him 
with unwavering love like the fond ivy twining round the gnarled 
oak, or life s warm eddies circling through the heart in conquest 
and defeat. 

Pull of fresh verdure and unnumbered flowers the negligence 
of nature. 

0, they love least that let men know they love. 

SEPARATION. 

And calm and smooth it seemed to take its moonlight way be 
fore the wind, as if it bore all peace within, nor left one breaking 
heart behind. 

Raise we that beggar and denude this lord the Senator shall 
bear contempt hereditary, the beggar native honor. 

Plots are the dark and back way to a throne; miss but one step, 
we roll with ruin down. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 313 

He pauses indeed with the work of destruction, but he paused 
like the Pythian Apollo, while balancing his body, fixing his eye, 
adjusting his bow, and deliberately directing the unerring shaft 
to the heart of his victim. 



THE EULING PASSION. 

It is hope or our despair. It often secures success and in 
success enjoys the chief happiness, as in cases of failure it suffers 
the chief misery. 

He that is rich or he that is poor, knows but half of his own 
nature. The experience furnished by both is the best knowledge. 



GREAT MEN. 

Most men would be greater in the close of life if they were not 
so great in the beginning. 

What, are ye a hireling tribe to be bought out by he who bids 
the highest? If the design be noble, grasp it nobly, and do not, 
like a band of sordid slaves, embrace your bondage for the golden 
fetters. 

A RARE BEAUTY. 

Bright eyes like rubies, teeth like pearls, and a quiet tongue 
within them. Oh, that I could exclaim " Eureka! " 

The gratification of a ruling passion is our chief pleasure, its 
disappointment our chief earthly penalty. Virtue has its en 
joyments in any result and often is more benefited by defeat 
than success. 

GOD ELECTS ALL WHO ELECT HIM. 

The thoughts passing through an ordinary mind, would, in the 
course of a long life, if they could be collected, furnish more 
instruction to mankind than the works of Bacon or Newton. 
Shakespeare, of all mortals, has exhibited most of his mind, yet 
he concealed more than he displayed. 



SPEECH. 

Speech is the morning to the soul. It spreads its beauteous 
images abroad, which else lie furled and clouded in the brain. 



314 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

A man is meaner in adversity than prosperity. In the former 
he builds upon himself,, in the latter his fortune. 

Adversity in itself is nothing, even to a generous spirit. It is 
the thousand meannesses to which you are exposed that consti 
tute its chief misery. 

SPIRITUALISM. 

One of the most remarkable things with Spiritualists is that 
while they believe everything that few other persons can believe, 
they deny everything that most reasonable men fully believe. 

My greatest difficulties in life have sprung from my greatest 
successes, and the greatest enjoyments of life from what have 
been considered the greatest privations. 

Few men are ever improved by prosperity, but thousands have 
been benefited by adversity. It is a rough but excellent teacher, 
whose lessons are rarely forgotten. 



MIND. 

The mind is never impaired except through the disordered 
functions of the body. If the mind could in itself be diseased 
it could die; a supposition which would be opposed to the doc 
trine of immortality of the soul, and is, therefore, to be utterly 
rejected. 

If thou doest any beautiful thing with toil, the toil passeth 
away, but the beautiful remains. If thou doest a vile thing with 
pleasure, the pleasure passeth, but the vileness remaineth. 

I don t know how it is with others, but I am never so much 
disposed to be proud as when my worldly hopes are humblest. 



POLITICAL CORRUPTION. 

In those unhappy times when good men are rendered odious, 
and bad men popular; when great men are little and little men 
great, he who would serve his country best must be above per 
sonal consideration. 

Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree, laden with blooming gold, 
has need the guard of dragon s watch with enchanted eye. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 315 



GOOD NATURE. 

Good nature is the best feature in the finest face. Wit may 
raise admiration, honesty may command respect, and knowledge 
attention; beauty may inflame the heart with love, but good 
nature has a more peaceful effect, it adds a thousand attractions 
to the charm of beauty and gives an air of beneficence to the 
most homely face. 

The man who has suffered the greatest evil in life, can suffer 
no more. Like death, it cures everything else. 

Being asked why I was so firm a believer in the Saviour, I re 
plied, " Both from reason and faith." Reason itself shows that 
without faith in the doctrine of Christianity no man could be 
saved. 

To deep and earnest spirits, nature wears the countenance of 
Deity, but joy and joyful hearts think of her only as a host at 
whose bounteous table they may freely feast. 

SYMBOLIZED IXEBRIACY. 

Red noses are lighthouses to warn voyagers on the sea of life 
to keep off the coasts of Malaga, Jamaica, Santa Cruz, and 
Holland. 

A nip of a mad dog and a nip of adulterated whiskey both 
produce a horror of water. 

THE NATIONAL COLORS SYMBOLIZED. 

The Red, White, and Blue. The red cheeks, the white teeth, 
and blue eyes of a lovely girl are as good a flag as a young soldier 
in the battle of life need fight under. 

BAD INVESTMENTS. 

Some men deposit all their money inside their vests, in the 
form of beer and whiskey, and call that investing it; they have 
no faith in any other bank. 

EMBRACE CHRISTIANITY. 

We should embrace Christianity even for prudential reasons, 
for a just and benevolent God will not punish an intellectual 



316 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

being for believing what there is so much reason to believe; there- 
fore, we run no risk by receiving Christianity if it be false, but u 
serious one rejecting it if it be true. 

Many men of talent are always under a cloud; they are scarcely 
noticed and seldom heard. To be considered " Somebody/ it 
is unnecessary to make a great noise. Let the world know you 
are successful in something, and immediately you become fa 
mous. If you wait until they find your virtues you will pass into 
obscurity like a flower on a prairie. 

Success is the ladder to greatness. No matter how you get on 
the top, once there, you are adored, until the hook of history 
takes you down, which is evidence that prosperity swells your 
head, and you are busted. 

KEEP GOOD COMPANY. 

I know from experience that intercourse with persons of de 
cided virtue and excellence is of great importance in the forma 
tion of a good character. The force of example is powerful, we 
are creatures of imitation, and by a necessary influence on temper 
and habit, become largely the counterpart or model of those with 
whom we familiarly associate. 

MODESTY. 

There is no object that was ever eulogized that equals a modest 
woman. Earth never revealed a holier vision; the eye of man 
never gazed upon a lovelier specimen than a chaste woman robed 
in simple attire. It is a picture that fills the intellectual eye 
and commands adoration; it matters not whether she dwells in a 
palace or lives in a hut, she is, indeed, an angel that is, before 
marriage. 

MONEY 

Should be made subordinate to one s moral duty, to society, 
to country, and especially to God; for he that pursues riches 
under the impression that their possession will set them at ease 
and above the world, in the end, " gets left! " 

THE ORIGIN or SORROW. 

We fancy that all our afflictions are sent to us directly from 
above. Sometimes we think we recognize them in piety and con 
trition, but oftener we see them in moroseness and discontent. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 317 

It would be well, however, if we attempted to find the causes of 
them. We would probably find their origin in some region of 
the heart which we had never well explored or in which we had 
secretly deposited our worst indulgences. The clouds that in 
tercept the heavens from our view come not from heaven but 
from earth. 

MARRIAGE. 

Young man, get married! If you truly love and that love is 
reciprocated. If you have no money, it matters not, for what has 
money got to do with matrimony? You may say, " How am I to 
pay for the marriage certificate? " Go to a Justice of the Peace. 
"Suppose he will not credit me?" Then go to the Minister 
and stand him off, like the majority of his congregation do. 

SENTIMENTS. 

Young men, this bear in mind, 
A trusty friend is hard to find; 
And when you have one good and true, 
Never change the old for the new. 

EELIGION. 

A religious life is one of the greatest recommendations. What 
does it profess? A peace with all mankind. It teaches us those 
attributes which will contribute to our present comfort as well 
as to our future happiness; and its greatest ornament is charity. 
It inculcates nothing but love and simplicity of affection. It 
breathes nothing but the purest spirit of delight. In short, it is 
the system perfectly calculated to benefit the heart, improve the 
mind, and enlighten the understanding. 

THE BIBLE A WONDERFUL BOOK. 

In every respect the Bible is, indeed, a wonderful book. The 
impress of divinity is in all its pages. Every event is seen by 
its light linked to God; every doctrine tends to glorify Him and 
every precept to bless His creatures. There is no trace of flattery 
to the readers, nor vanity in the writers; no anxiety to do justice 
to any fact by coloring it, or to explain any circumstance that 
seems inconsistent. They wrote as those who felt they were 
amanuenses of God, the sworn witnesses to facts. They conceal 
nothing from fear, palliate nothing through shame of human 
nature and have proclaimed the suffering One on the cross to be 
the Son of God. And from the so-called infidelity of Paine and 



318 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

Kosseau, there are admissions, it is said, that might be advan 
tageously collected that recognize the Bible as the Book of God. 

MOKAL SUASION. 

The principle would hold good in almost every worldly affair 
with three exceptions. First: To persuade a woman she is wrong 
when she has made up her mind she is right. Second: To per 
suade a mule when he does not want to go. Third: To move 
a steamboat off a sand-bar when she is aground. 

WIT. 

Some men who have evinced a certain degree of wit and talent 
in private companies fail miserably when they attempt to appear 
as public characters in the grand theatre of human life. Great 
men in a little circle, but little men in a great one; they show 
their learning to the ignorant, but their ignorance to the learned. 
The powers of their mind seem to be parched up and withered 
by the public, like the Welsh Cascades before the summer sun, 
which, by the by, I know are vastly fine in the winter when no 
one goes to see them. 

PEACE. 

If you would be known and not to know, vegetate in a village; 
if you would know and not be known, live in a city. 

TRIUMPH OF TRUTH. 

A wise minister would rather preserve the peace than gain a 
victory, because he knows that even the most successful war 
leaves nations generally poorer, and always more profligate than 
it found them. These are real evils that cannot be brought 
into a list of indemnities, and the demoralizing influence of war 
is not among the least of them. The triumphs of truth are the 
most glorious, chiefly because they are the most bloodless of all 
victories, deriving their highest lustre from the number of the 
saved, not of the slain. 

BEAUTY. 

Would you have stars or liquid diamonds? Gaze on her bright 
eyes which light the way to joy. Pearl? Call to mind the treas 
ure of that mouth. Coral? Behold her lip. But, oh! Beware 
you linger not amidst the sweet enchantment, this labyrinth of 
love. 



EEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 319 

How SHOULD IT BE? 

When youth s consigned to the embrace of time, when life is 
fettered in the arms of death? Canst read the human face and 
not perceive how fate lies lurking in the wreathed smile? De 
crepit age, corruption and decay prey on the vernal cheek and 
blight its bloom, the temple where this union is confined (?) 
should be a sepulchre, a charnel house, and bridal robes and 
jewels and parade give place to sackcloth, shrouds, and tears of 
blood. 

EXPERIENCE. 

Every burden of sorrows seems a stone hung around one s 
neck; yet are they often only like the stones used by the pearl 
divers which enable them to reach the prize and rise enriched. 

The tears we shed for those we love are the streams that water 
the garden of the heart, and without them it would be dry and 
barren, and the gentle flowers of affection would perish. 

CHARITY. 

Nothing requires more judgment than the dispensing of 
one s confidence and charity, if the recipients are not worthy. 
We are betrayed in one instance and abused in the other. 

A gentleman never insults another, and the offensive remarks 
of an inferior person cannot insult a gentleman. In fact, a well- 
regulated mind does not regard the abusive language of ignorance 
in the light of an insult, and deems it beneath revenge. All the 
abominations to which ignorance can give utterance cannot raise 
the speaker one jot above his proper level, or depress a gentle 
man in the slightest degree below his sphere. 

HUMAN LIFE. 

Hope invites the poetry of the boy, but memory that of the 
man. Man looks forward with smiles, but backward with sighs. 
Such is the wise providence of heaven, the cup of life is sweeter 
at the brim, the flavor is impaired as we drink deeper and the 
dregs are made bitter that we may not struggle when the cup is 
taken from our lips. 

INTEGRITY. 

In all things preserve integrity. The consciousness of thy own 
uprightness will alleviate the toil of business, and soften the 
harshness of disappointment and give thee an humble confidence 



320 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

before God, when the ingratitude of man or the iniquity of the 
times may rob you of the due reward. 

This is a bond of hands and not of hearts; is this generous? 
Nay, is it just that doting age, forgetful of the tomb, should thus 
stretch forth its sickty, palsied hand to crop the bloom of youth 
and blight her days beyond all hope of a reviving spring? 

In adversity the mind grows tough by buffeting the tempest, 
but in success dissolving sinks to ease and loses all her firmness. 



THE LIAR His OWN DUPE. 

Like one who having unto truth, by telling it, made such a 
sinner of his memory to credit his own lie. 

In vain the dews of heaven descend above the bleeding flower 
and blasted fruit of love. 



THE ACTUALITIES OF LIBERTY. 

Personal liberty, even as a current phrase, is undoubtedly the 
noblest watchword of our national life. In the vanguard of 
true progress it has ever resounded as an unanswerable shout of 
victory, and at the distant echo, oppressors in their short-lived 
tyranny have trembled. Humiliating submission has never 
taken any root upon the soil of this great, free country, and 
never shall, in proof whereof the patriots of the past may be 
pointed to, who often sealed in death their splendid scorn of sug 
gestions to surrender their valued sights as freemen, and shall we 
of the present day be less courageous or less watchful? I trust 
not. It is our duty neither to sleep throughout our watch nor 
sulk within our tents; neither, however, need our hearts beat 
funeral marches; they ought rather to throb gladly in national 
unison to the old golden watchword of liberty. The present 
time, too, is assuredly a season to try the nation s metal, to test 
its sincerity, the vain, unbiased vaporings, the ultra-Socialist 
ideas, once the incipient anarchistic leanings of the day must be 
counteracted, and he who carefully considers the precious herit 
age of freedom will not be slow to see that his plain duty, as a 
lover of commonwealth, is, in truth, a personal privilege as well. 
To keep silence is a crime against friends, a concession to the 
enemy, and a servile realization of the lines of Moore: 

Thus freedom now so seldom wakes, the only throbs she gives 
Is when some heart indignant breaks, to show that still she lives. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 321 



PATRIOTISM. 

The brave man should never outlive his country. As clings 
the infant to its mother s arms, blessing and blest, so cleaves 
the nation s heart to the embraces of its native soil, at once de 
serving and imparting life. 



TRAITOR. 

The felon that purloins his country s glory and prostitutes it 
to his country s shame. 

Bear up, my soul, and, worthy of thyself, endure approaching 
peril, as the past, dying as all shall die, who hope to live in the 
proud pages of futurity. 

GRATITUDE. 

As a May morning arising from the East, or day dismounting 
in the golden West. 

IDLENESS. 

The sloth perishes on the limbs after having eaten all their 
leaves. 

0, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful in the contempt and 
anger of his lips who pillories an ingrate. 

A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon than love that 
would seem hid. 

Virtue is sooner found in lowly sheds with smoky rafters than 
in tapestried halls and courts of princes or brownstone fronts. 

Youth, beauty, pomp, what are they to a woman s heart? 
Compared with eloquence, the magic of the tongue is the most 
dangerous of all spells. 

The whole globe outstretched between the soul and its desires, 
were shorter than the tiresome, tedious league, that turns the 
back on joy. 

Hopes destroyed endear those which remain. 
21 



322 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 



CAPRICE. 

From pride we doth borrow, 
To part, we both may dare, 
But the heartbreaks of to-morrow, 
Nor you nor I can bear. 

The golden day guilds yon sky-helmed mount with purple 
hues, like fabled dolphins, varying as it dies. 

AMBITION. 

His eagle-winged ambition soars so high that we are only left 
to gaze and wonder at the proud pinnacle in our lowly sphere 
beneath him. 

LABOR. 

The laboring classes of the community in the cities are vastly 
inferior, in point of intellect, to the same order of society in the 
country. The mind of the city artificer is mechanized by the 
constant attention to one single object, an attention into which 
he is of necessity drilled and disciplined by the minute subdivi 
sion of labor which improves, I admit, the art, but debilitates 
the artist, and converts the man into a mere breathing part of 
that machinery by which he works. The rustic, on the contrary, 
is obliged to turn his hand to everything, and must often make 
his tool before he can use it, and is pregnant with invention and 
fertile in resources. It is true, that by a combination of their 
different employments, the city artificers produce specimens in 
their respective vocations far superior to the best of the rustic. 
But if, from the effects of systematic combination, the city arti 
ficer infers an individual superiority, he is wofully deceived. 

AT HOME. 

The highest style of being at home grows out of a special state 
of the affections rather than of the intellect. Who has not met 
with individuals whose faces would be a passport into any society, 
and whose manners, the unstudied and spontaneous expressions 
of their inner selves, make them welcome wherever they go, and 
attract unbounded confidence in whatever they undertake. They 
are frank, because they have nothing to conceal; affable because 
their nature overflows with benevolence; unflurried, because they 
have nothing to dread; always at home, because they have within 
themselves that which can trust to itself anywhere and every 
where, purity of soul and fulness of health. Such are our best 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 323 

guarantees for feeling at home in all society to which duty takes 
us, and in every occupation into which we are obliged to enter. 
They who are least for themselves, are the least embarrassed by 
uncertainties. 

Woman is the morning star of infancy, the day star of man 
hood, the evening star of old age. Bless our stars! May we ever 
bask in the sunshine of their smiles until they make us see stars 
out of our eyes! 

The grave closes all accounts with this world and strikes a 
balance sheet in the next. 

That which he decides, fate s awful fiat stamps as irrevocable 
it is done. 

Great fortunes little men allure to those proud supernal heights 
which only Gods, and men like Gods, attain. 

There is this wonderful benignity in the providence and econ 
omy of God that our very sufferings produce our relief. From 
this excess great pain renders us insensible to pain. Great heat 
produces, naturally, refreshing showers. 

God only can cure the wounds that life inflicts. 
Death only hides the scars. 

TIME, FORCE, AND DEATH. 

Do to this body what extremes you can; but the strong base 
and building of my love is as the very centre of the earth, draw 
ing all things to it. 

Sympathy lightens grief, the weight that all men share from 
sympathy so lightened; but the thunderbolt that falls on one 
poor heart, scathes, scatters, and destroys it. 

She died, but not alone; she held within a second principle 
of life which might have dawned a fair and sinless child of sin; 
but closed its little being without light and went down to the 
grave unborn, wherein blossom and bough be withered with one 
blight. 

Ten thousand fools, knaves, cowards lunched together, became 
all-wise, all-righteous, and all-mighty. 



324 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

OLD MEN. 

These old fellows have their ingratitude in them hereditary, 
their blood is caked, is cold, it seldom flows; tis lack of timely 
warmth, they are not kind, and nature as it grows again towards 
earth is fashioned for the journey dull and heavy. 

There is religion in amusement. Man takes the wrong course 
who tries to dain up human nature. I love that man who tries to 
turn human nature in a right direction, and to let men have 
good amusements, for they like them. Where is the man who 
does not like amusement? A circus especially. To see the child 
in its mother s arms, when the old clown comes in, jump up and 
down in its mother s lap, clap its tiny hands with joy. I like 
to see a kitten chase its own tail. If the ministers of religion 
had done their duty in trying to guide and direct the amuse 
ments of the people, there would not be so many bad amusements 
as there are at the present time. Instead of the clergy standing 
askance from amusement, I would like to see them taking more 
interest taking part in them. John Wesley said some people 
found fault with him for taking tunes which had been associated 
with foolish songs, and applying them to sacred hymns. Replied: 
I see no reason why the devil should have all the good things 
in the world. There is music, painting, chess, baseball, cricket, 
the circus, etc., I would take them all in the service of religion 
and virtue. There is a class of people, and I may say ministers, 
too, who imagine they are serving the Lord by appearing always, 
and under all circumstances, sanctimonious 

Who confound the sins they re not inclined to, 
And damn all those they have a mind to. 

Thy candor wears the livery of Truth, the vesture of the starry 
court above, where virtue reigns supreme, and the free soul 
owes fealty only to the King of Kings. 



RICE ON THE ROSTRUM. 

Had Dan Rice chosen the lecture field instead of the motley 
garb he would assuredly have made his mark as one of the most 
successful and popular lecturers in the United States. Pos 
sessed of a commanding presence, an engaging frankness and 
charm of address, combined with a most sonorous voice and clear 
enunciation, and, above all, a singular expansion of ideas and 
marvellous resourcefulness and versatility, there is but little oc 
casion for doubt that he would have achieved a gratifying reputa- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 325 

tion on the lectorium, forming a fitting and graceful sequel to 
the well-nigh unparalleled success he has reaped in the many- 
sided roles of his remarkable life as a public entertainer. 

THE ORATORY OF THE FORUM AND THE KING. 

" It is a curious circumstance/ said a writer in Blackwood, 
that every Englishman thinks he can do two things, and is 
never convinced of his error until he tries; one is that he can 
write for a newspaper, and the other that he can swim. To this 
we may add, that every American thinks he is an orator. The 
young lad} r of ten, in all the glory of crinoline, silk flowers, and 
kid gloves, astonishes a select company with a reading from 
Tennyson. The young man of the same age, with new jacket 
and shining morning face/ carried off the palm at a school 
exhibition by declaiming the adventures of a boy who remained 
unnecessarily upon some burning deck from which every sen 
sible person had fled/ The adolescent orator passes next to the 
village debating society discussing with much temerity social 
and political themes, which grave men approach with fear and 
trembling. When he retires from college, with all the dignity 
of parchment, blue ribbon, and the bachelor s gown, he pro 
nounces a Latin valedictory which he is quite certain is finer than 
any of Cicero s orations. At the bar, or in the pulpit, at the 
political meeting, the State Legislature, or in the Congress of 
the nation, our orator addresses the people, and, as a rule, fails. 
The number of orators is quite disproportionate to the number 
of speakers in all the debates in the Colonial Legislature pre 
vious to the assembling of the Continental Congress, but few 
speeches are remembered. In Congress, but few great orators 
have ever appeared, and they are all dead. But these facts do 
not lessen the number of orators or abbreviate the speeches. 
So well is it understood that every member of Congress must 
speak at some time or other, whether he has anything to say or 
not, the rules provide that the House may, at convenient times, 
resolve itself into committee of the whole on the state of the 
Union, when any member may occupy an hour in talking about 
anything that occurs to him. The amount of desultory nonsense 
that is spoken in committee is something fearful to contemplate. 
Some members are profoundly stupid, like Dogberry, of Messina; 
some essay the role of the Motley fool in the Forest of Arden ; 
others are hopelessly dull like Chamberlin in Hamlet. The 
speeches are upon all imaginary subjects, earthly and heavenly, 
terrestrial and celestial. They are not unlike the speeches made 
by Dan Rice, the jester clown at Niblo s, who is the exponent 
of the oratory of the ring, as contra-distinguished from the ora- 



326 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

tory of the forum. Rice resolves himself into a committee of 
the whole every evening, and addresses the audience upon the 
topics of the day. He has lately incurred the wrath of philoso 
phers of the ( Tribune/ who have come down upon him, in the 
usual neat and elegant style of the journal. The showman de 
fends himself exactly like a member of Congress. He begins by 
deprecating the journal as being beneath his notice; but/ said 
he, as it might get into some decent man s house, and create a 
false impression against me, I am bound to say that though I am 
a fool by profession, I have some regard for consistency. Now, 
I don t think that a newspaper which is continually preaching 
about hot corn, vegetable diet, and so forth, should object to that 
celestial grain and South Carolina staple rice. The chief use, 
however, made by the " Tribune " people of grain, was in the 
form of whiskey, under the influence of which he had been as 
sailed. If he (Rice) thought himself as mean as some of these 
people, he would " desert the United States and go to live in 
Jersey." : Now as a piece of denunciation, sarcasm, ridicule, 
and wit, this specimen of the oratory of the ring is not inferior 
to the average of Congressional speeches. If it had been one of 
the Ely Thayers of the House, it would have been dotted all 
over with laughter in parentheses, the concluding mot is en 
titled to great laughter/ and would have been so received in 
Congress. 

" There is a growing disposition among our orators of the 
forum to cultivate the joke department it might be considered 
bad taste for a grave Senator to don the parti-colored habit of 
the buffoon, but the funny members might take a lesson from the 
great clown above mentioned. Let the professional jokers of 
Congress summon Rice to the bar of the house, and extract his 
jokes under oath. It will serve to enliven the debates, and, in 
due time, some of the members may fit themselves for the cap 
and bells they seem so anxious to wear." From N. Y. " Herald," 
1858, Niblo s Garden, Ned Wilkins, Reporter, in Box. 



LECTURES. 

Is there one in all the world who has not heard of Dan Rice, 
the jester of the nineteenth century? Who of "our daddies" 
has not seen him in his inimitable performances of the circus 
ring the man whose drolleries, wit, and facial expressions have 
made both hemispheres laugh for half a century; who has amused 
and made more happy more people than any other man the world 
has produced? In this he has been a great benefactor, driving 
sorrow and dull care away with the health-giving laugh, causing 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 327 

the young and the old, the peasant and the king, from the Hot 
tentot to the polished Caucasian to hold their sides in uproarious 
mirth. Think of the good one can do who makes everybody 
laugh that comes across his way. " Played the fool for a life 
time/ says Dan, " to amuse the world." " The clown of our 
daddies/ as Dan is pleased to term himself, visited Corpus 
Christ! last Tuesday, and gave one of his unique entertainments 
at Market Hall, entitled " The Fool s Wisdom." A representa 
tive audience of our citizens was present. Mayor Heath in a 
few well-chosen words introduced the veteran king of the saw 
dust ring, who, with one of those graceful salutations to the 
audience characteristic of " happy Dan," made an impression 
that placed him and his hearers at once on a common plane of 
familiar ease. He began by saying he had arrived that day over 
the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad to Papalote, thence to 
this city by stage; complimented in high terms the new road and 
its management, the excellent stage line, and described his sen 
sations on crossing the reef all of which he enjoyed very much. 
" For years," he continued, " I have cherished a wish to visit 
Corpus Christ!, because of its historical associations and the fame 
of its beautiful location, but chiefly because here lives a friend 
of my boyhood days, now the well-known and honored citizen of 
this city, Capt. M. Kennedy, the man whose foresight, liberality, 
and public spirit have made possible the great railroad enterprise 
that is about to lift your city into rapid growth and prosperity. 
We were youths together in Pittsburg, and during the long years 
since, I have cherished the most pleasant recollections of him, 
notwithstanding we were rivals at one time for the same girl." 
He referred to the bright future of Corpus Christ! and the enter 
prise and growth that are soon to follow in the wake of the iron 
horse. He talked for nearly an hour and a half, giving reminis 
cences from his rich experiences, often causing the audience to 
shout with laughter. The entertainment Wednesday night was 
a continuation of the " Fool s Wisdom," and to a much larger 
audience, among whom were a large number of ladies and chil 
dren, also the clergy of the city who were represented both nights. 
Throughout the whole Dan tells his tales and points the morals. 
He dwells especially on the moral and religious life, on education, 
the dignity of labor, the moral influence of the mother, the in 
fluence of the wife over the husband, the duty of the child to its 
parents, and especially of its duty to its mother. His tribute to 
women is truly beautiful. Dan often grows pathetic, touching 
the tender cord of his hearers, observing which, he winds up with 
a description or story that would turn a tear into a shout of 
laughter. There is a world of fun in him and it will come out. 
His description of his visit to the Holy Land, his belief in the 



328 REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 

Bible, and his scathing denunciation of infidels are alone well 
worth the time of every one to hear. His presentation of the 
features of human life the idiosyncrasies of the human mind- 
are not only moral and unique, but open up new avenues for 
thought and reflection. Dan draws from a fund of knowledge 
and well-remembered experience that is remarkable. He quotes 
readily passages from the best authors to give force to his points 
and embellish his periods. His familiarity with the Bible is 
remarkable, for one does not expect such from the old clown. 

The " Caller " representative noted the intense interest of his 
hearers, noticeable in all from the street urchin to the talented 
divine. Notwithstanding our citizens have an aversion during 
the heated term to gathering in Market Hall for any entertain 
ment, the magnet of the world s greatest humorist was irresisti 
ble and the second night the elite of the city gathered in full 
force. While here Mr. Rice was part of the time the guest of 
Captain Kennedy. As the two friends sat down to the elegant 
dinner many were the old-time episodes recalled of their lives 
as spent in Pittsburg. Put in print they would make interesting 
reading for the public, but we forbear. Mr. Rice has been in 
Texas for about fourteen months, looking after some land inter 
ests. He speaks in flattering terms of Texas people, our towns, 
etc., and especially of San Antonio and this city. His visit to 
Corpus will long be remembered by our citizens who had the good 
fortune to see and hear him. The " Caller " advises those of its 
readers who may have the opportunity, not to fail to hear the 
" old clown " lecture. From the Corpus Christ! " Caller," 
August, 1886. 

COMMON SENSE. 

It is generally supposed that nearly everyone is possessed of 
common sense, while a few have uncommon sense, or, in other 
words, that there are a favored few who are geniuses. But in 
my opinion, there are many less than we suppose who have even 
the ordinary quality which is so essential to our success in life. 
When I see a man whom the world calls " smart " and " ener 
getic," who, in truth, has talents, but instead of using them for 
the good of mankind, uses them for his own selfish ends, and 
does not seek to benefit the world by his existence, but lives only 
for self, and does not look beyond this world for his reward, 
whose highest aims and plans do not go farther than this life, 
when I see such a man, who might be an ornament to society but 
for his own selfish views, I think that person has a great want of 
common sense. When I see a man who makes the " almighty 
dollar " his aim, who hesitates not to commit any crime, no mat 
ter how great it is, who will, without the least pangs of con- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 329 

science (if he has a conscience), defraud men out of their rights, 
and when money is in view, puts aside all other plans, and rushes 
madly on for the fickle prize; who, instead of laying up treasures 
above, makes riches his idol such a man, I think, lacks very 
much in sound sense. But, perhaps, there is no character so 
devoid of sense as the hypocrite. It has been said that " it takes 
a smart man to be a rogue "; this may be true, yet it is a kind 
of smartness in which there is not much good sense. The hypo 
crite may have a sort of subtle cunning, yet he is destitute of 
morals, religion, and sense. A man who goes through the world 
trying to make people believe that he is something which he is 
not, whose life is all a mere farce, he appears outwardly to be 
honest and upright, but inwardly is filled with dead man s bones; 
he is clothed in long robes, and at the same time devours widows 
houses. He may be a lawyer, a merchant, or a physician, but in 
all these places he is as much to be abhorred as those who are 
openly base and corrupt, and although he may get through this 
world without ii> being known how corrupt he is, yet he will one 
day come before Him whom he cannot deceive, and then it will 
be seen that he lacked very much in common sense. There are 
many others who do not act as though they had the least particle 
of sense; eyes have they, but they see not; ears have they, but 
they hear not; souls have they, but they feel not. But a word in 
regard to the geniuses: it has been said (and with a great deal of 
truthfulness, too) that genius is industry, hard and long work; 
unceasing effort; and it is in the power of every man to set his 
aim as high as he will, and with industry he can come up to that 
aim. True, every man cannot be a Webster or a Washington, 
yet he may attain to a high position in some of the many ways 
that are open. How many examples have we of men who arose 
to rank and station, who at some time in their lives had utterly 
despaired of reaching a high and noble position, but who, by 
untiring industry, at last arrived at the height of their ambition. 
Daniel Webster was not born a genius, although he afterward 
became one. And so it is with all of our great men, it is labor 
that makes the genius. Thus we see that we should possess com 
mon sense, and with that we shall be sure to prosper. 

PATHOS AND MIRTH. 

COL. RICE DELIVERS ONE OF HIS FAMOUS LECTURES, FOR THE 
BENEFIT OF M. E. CHURCH, SOUTH, HOT SPRINGS. 

Col. Dan Rice, the world-famed jester, showman, and lecturer, 
delivered one of his characteristic talks at the M. E. Church, 
South, Hot Springs, last evening. A large and appreciative audi- 



330 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

ence was entertained by the white-haired veteran of the ring and 
rostrum, during one and a half hours of mingled mirth and 
pathos, interesting reminiscences of men and places, personal 
experiences, humorous and pathetic, the sublime and the ridicu 
lous, all deftly sandwiched together in a manner that caused 
alternate smiles and tears to come and go upon the faces of his 
auditors. Among the audience were the energetic pastor of the 
church and many prominent citizens. The distinguished lec 
turer was frequently interrupted by spontaneous rounds of ap 
plause, and after his beautiful and logical closing peroration, 
received the hearty congratulations of the assembly who were 
loath to leave the edifice. Being in a church, the speaker s won 
derful spirit of natural humor was consistently checked to coin 
cide with the surroundings, for, as Uncle Dan truthfully remarks, 
" an edifice devoted to the worship of God, no matter how hum 
ble, is a temple sacred from profanation by word or deed." If 
any one doubts that humor must not be coarse clothed, or is 
inseparable from vulgarity, he needed but to have been present to 
have been convinced to the contrary. Beginning with a witty 
preface, the speaker led his audience over the route of his life 
wanderings through the length and breadth of the civilized 
globe, to the courts of royalty and the sacred garden of Geth- 
semane, under the burning equatorial sun and over rolling seas 
and back to the canvas-covered 42|-foot realm of sawdust where 
he reigned the king of the clowns for over fifty years. He paid 
a glowing tribute to woman woman as she should be and woman 
as she is with some rib-tickling personal experiences. 
" Woman," said he, " was the latest and most perfect handiwork 
of God." Passing to the subject of intemperance he gave utter 
ance to advice that all should heed. Said he: "I have quit lec 
turing on temperance because I have quit drinking; nine-tenths 
of all so-called temperance lecturers are either drunk at the time 
or immediately after. He eulogized the power of moral suasion 
in working reformation, but, said he, " there are some things 
that moral suasion will not accomplish. It won t move a steam 
boat off a sand-bar, because I have tried it myself." Speaking of 
Hot Springs, he said, " I have never met so many rheumatic 
people in my life; every other man is its victim, but this is the 
footstool of mother Nature, who cures and consoles them all," fol 
lowing with humorous imitations of old men and remarks about 
his own disputed age. He gave a pulpit picture of Henry Ward 
Beecher and related an amusing incident of the great divine in 
connection with the sacred cattle of Hindoostan which he (Eice) 
was the first to exhibit in this country. He quoted profusely 
from past and contemporary poets and authors and evinced a sur 
prising familiarity with historical events and sacred writings. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 331 

No pen picture can portray his kaleidoscopic power of oratory, 
and suffice it to say that all was eminently characteristic of the 
eventful career of the original and only Dan Eice. From the 
" Daily News," Hot Springs, Ark., May 25, 1885. 

UNCLE DAN S FAREWELL TALK. 

LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF AN EVENTFUL LIFE PAINTED BY A 
MASTER HAND A TRIUMPH OF ORATORY. 

Last night Col. Dan Rice, who has been sojourning at the 
springs for several weeks recuperating, appeared in a farewell 
lecture for the benefit of the Knights of Labor, at the Academy 
of Music. While the audience was not as numerous as the occa 
sion deserved, it more than made up in enthusiasm what it 
lacked in numbers. When the silver-haired veteran of the 42^- 
foot diameter ascended the rostrum, he was greeted with a spon 
taneous burst of applauding welcome from ladies and gentlemen. 
As he faced the assembly with his genial smile, precursor of the 
fun that was to follow, he was presented with a beautiful floral 
tribute, the gift of our distinguished citizen, Colonel Sumpter. 
Uncle Dan, as we love to call him, alluded to the gift in an elo 
quent and touching manner. He eulogized the generosity and 
public spirit of the Colonel and spoke feelingly of the interest 
the donor manifested for the good of his fellow-men. The trib 
ute touched the hearts of his auditors and evoked a hearty out 
burst of approbation. Passing to his theme the Colonel said: 
" I am here to tell you of the Fool s Wisdom, culled from the 
rose-clad but thorn-laden paths of life. For half a century I 
have worn the motley garb of the fool, laboring for the amuse 
ment of mankind. Fools never die, for the fool is ever wise at 
last. r He took his eager listeners to the " dark continent," to 
the " Historic banks of the sluggish Nile," to the " Sacred shores 
of the Dead Sea," to the realms of royalty and the abode of 
princes, and brought them back with a brilliant mob to the tint 
and tinsel of the tented ring where he wielded the royal sceptre 
of mirth from the early memory of the oldest inhabitant. He 
convulsed his hearers with characteristic illustrations of the old 
men approaching him daily with tottering steps and the in 
evitable remark: "Why, Dan, I went to your circus when I was 
a boy." Like the flitting figures of the kaleidoscope, he reached 
hither and thither, plucking rich gems of thought and flowers 
of oratory, which he intertwined with wreaths of humor, and 
presented in a beautiful bouquet of mirth, melody of expression, 
and moral precept. He paid a deserved compliment to the work- 
ingmen the Knights of Labor illustrating with examples of 



332 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

prominent men and notably the career of our honored President. 
His tribute to woman girl, wife, and mother; his advice to 
young men,, and his laudation of our moral guide, the Holy Bible, 
were efforts of oratory rarely heard, and were enthusiastically 
received. He plucked the plumes from IngersolPs turban and 
trampled them in the dust of denunciation. He exposed the 
artifices of humbugs and pretenders, and threw the calcium rays 
of truth on the cloaked forms of deceitful workers. " Truth," 
said he, " is the bulwark of eternal happiness." Inspired by the 
presence of old friends, he seemed to rise above himself, and 
words of wisdom and eloquence rippled forth with the rhythm of 
the running brook. Our pen fails to picture the enchantment of 
that hour and a half. The well-worn phrase " must be seen to 
be appreciated," fully expresses the opinion of all who were pres 
ent, and when he bowed his thanks and withdrew, all were loath 
to leave. Notwithstanding the fact that the Academy has borne 
no enviable reputation, owing to mismanagement, many promi 
nent ladies were present, and thoroughly enjoyed the entertain 
ment. Uncle Dan s magnetism overcomes all obstacles, and as 
the story is told to-day on the street and in marts of trade and 
homes, the careless absentees " kick " themselves for missing 
the most enjoyable feature of our amusement season. From 
" The Sunday News," Hot Springs, Ark., May 28, 1885. 

DAN BICE S TRIBUTE TO WOMAN. 

AN ELOQUENT APPEAL FOR THE FAIR SEX AT A BANQUET 
GIVEN AT THE ASTOR HOUSE, NEW YORK, IN THE 
WINTER OF 1846 IN HONOR OF BANCROFT, THE GREAT 

HISTORIAN. 

Dan Rice was an invited guest. At that time the reputation of 
the great jester had spread all over the city, and it was de riguer 
to invite him to such gatherings in the expectation that he would 
impart a zest to the entertainment by his original wit and humor. 
In this they met with memorable disappointment, for very fre 
quently when they expected a burlesque harangue, or an out 
pouring of humorous satire, they were regaled with an address 
wherein morality, philosophy, and sound and sober argument 
were the salient features. And thus it happened at the historical 
banquet. After a variety of toasts had been given and responded 
to, that of " Woman " was left until the last, and as Dan Rice 
was called upon to reply, a smile stole over the faces of all present, 
but rising to his feet, with kindling eye, and eloquent gesture, 
realized the tender grandeur of the subject, and the joke for 
such it was meant when he was named as the respondent turned 



PEMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 333 

upon themselves. " Woman/ said he, " if first in our affections, 
should not be the last in our toasts. She has fallen into my arms, 
and I will uphold her with all the chivalry of the feudal age. 
Woman is a theme worthy the poet or the orator. Did not 
Homer, the blind bard, sing of woman, and when we read of 
Hector, bearing thick battle on his sounding shield, or holding 
aloft young Astynax, trembling at his nodding plume, do we not 
revert to the beauteous Helen and Andromache. Woman is the 
type of civilization; in savage life, a slave, in refined society, a 
queen. What distinguishes this nation most, what impresses 
the noble of other lands that the i American is more delicately 
refined, is our veneration for woman; she can travel alone 
through our vast country, her guardian angel the spirit of Ameri 
can manhood. 

" I cannot read the future, the horizon is obscured, the firma 
ment is not clear. Who can tell what will grow out of conflicts 
in the Old World, and the anxieties of the ^sew? This I believe, 
that as long as the American people preserve their respect for 
woman, and respect fellows worth, the American Republic will 
live. This I know, that if the mothers of the nation are good and 
pure, the sons of the nation will be strong and free. Woman! em 
pire is in thy hand. Lead forth from beyond the mountains, from 
the far Pacific, out of the virgin bosom of the peerless West the 
young States, and they will come to our Union as mighty as our 
own, without a canker to consume their youth, without a cloud 
to darken their destiny. Woman is supreme in good or evil. 
Did not Cleopatra lead captive conqueror? Who but Eve could 
have destroyed Paradise? where day was ecstatic joy, and night 
came as the approach of gentle music; where the couch was 
fragrant with the breath of flowers, when the very mountains 
arose in their sublimity to extend their shade over man s repose. 
Though the chosen angel of the Destroyer, still her name is 
stamped on the decalogue, Honor thy mother. In song, who 
more impassioned than Sappho? in prophecy, who more inspiring 
than Miriam, with harp and timbrel by the shore of the sounding 
sea ? Her destiny overshadows man s his fate trembles in hers. 
Napoleon tore from his heaven, his morning star, Josephine, and 
St. Helena, in retribution, arose from the ocean. Did not the 
mother of Washington fashion his great mind and breathe her 
stainless purity into his great heart? More eloquent than tongue 
can tell, more glorious than pen can write, are the simple words, 
Mother, Daughter, Sister, Wife. i Mother/ how sweet from the 
lips of the gleeful girl; how holy from the trembling voice of 
sickness. To the dying captive, to the bleeding soldier, to the 
o^reat man, to the malefactor on the scaffold, thy name, Mother/ 
comes radiant with the light of young Eden days. Wife is thy 



33-i REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

better self; Sister thy loveliest peer; Daughter, sunshine, danc 
ing on thy knee. In heathen mythology, Jove was the parent of 
Wisdom, which sprung a goddess, all created from his immortal 
mind. In Christianity the Virgin was the mother of our Lord. 
Woman has ever been divine; with the ancients the symbol of 
plenty, of beauty, of purity, and wisdom; Minerva, all perfect 
Ceres with her sheaf of wheat; Diana, with her bended bow; 
Venus arising from the crowning foam of the sea. With us of 
the New Testament, she has been chosen as wife and daughter, 
for the expression of miracle at the marriage feast, when the 
water blushed to wine, and when He bade the daughter of Jarius 
arise and walk. Faith, Hope, and Charity abideth most in her 
who touched but the hem of His garment and was made whole, 
and in the widow who, in giving her mite, gave most to the Lord. 
Yes, woman is divine. How many orisons ascend daily to the 
Blessed Mother? Woman is divine, even in her fall. Do you 
not remember that our Saviour/ bowed to the earth, wrote upon 
the sand, and would not look upon her shame, her degradation, 
or her punishment. In the creation, heaven lavished upon 
woman its latest perfection, moulding her in graceful and en 
chanting loveliness, and planted an altar for her worship in the 
bosom of man, where incense to her shall burn forever. 

" With instinctive pride and modesty, she conceals her charms 
from all but the being she adores, and even from him except in 
the full fruition of her love. She is in her perfection, the em 
bellishment of man, whose greatest pride is, or should be, to 
adorn and beautify her person. The egotistical philosopher, or 
spiritual puritan, may affect a holy horror at the exquisite taste 
with which fashion robes the female form, but no unselfish, cul 
tured man can be insensible to the high claim of a beautiful 
costume of the gentle companion heaven commits to him to be 
nurtured and developed into the aerial atmosphere of love." 



THE VETERAN DAN RICE, IN THE M. E. CHURCH LAST 
SUNDAY EVENING. 

FROM THE ARKANSAS CITY JOURNAL. 

After being introduced by the pastor of the church, in a few 
well-timed remarks, he presented the entertainment promised 
on the " Idiosyncrasies of the Human Mind," to the most intelli 
gent audience of our city and surrounding country. The subject 
chosen for the occasion, covered such a vast field, and furnished 
such a wonderful scope of thought, that the mind fails to grapple 
with its entirety, nevertheless the various points were handled 
in a masterly manner. The veteran showman appeared to be as 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 335 

much at home in the pulpit as he ever was in the sawdust ring, 
and at times the audience was aroused to a pitch of intense 
enthusiasm, notwithstanding that it broke over the restraint of 
church rules. The Colonel briefly but visibly portrayed his en 
trance into circus life, relating the history of his wonderful 
travels in different parts of the world, alluding to such spots as 
Jerusalem, Jericho, the Sea of Galilee, and many other places 
rich in historic memory. He also related his experience in Asia, 
Egypt, and points in Africa, to which countries he had been called 
in the purchase of wild animals and birds, frequently interspers 
ing his remarks with numerous humorous anecdotes. A gentle 
man present in the audience, Captain Haynes, who had travelled 
over the countries named, bears testimony to the wonderful mem 
ory and the accuracy of the Colonel s remarks. It is rarely that 
our citizens are favored with an opportunity of listening to one 
whose experiences have been so varied, and whose name is 
known, not only throughout the great continent of America, but 
also in the capitals of Europe. His lessons of instruction to the 
young people present will prove profitable; the high moral tone 
of his language seemed to astonish many who had seen him only 
in his professional attire. The points he made on the subject of 
divorce had a telling effect upon all persons present, and his ad 
vice to young men in pursuing the path of duty will, no doubt, 
after due reflection, lead many of them to more frequently visit 
the house of God. His scathing remarks on " Bob Ingersoll," 
whom he knew when a school-teacher at Shawneetown, 111., were 
of such character that, could Ingersoll have been present, he would 
have covered his head in shame. The parallel that he drew be 
tween President Cleveland and James G. Elaine, giving a brief 
history of both, was something that has never appeared in print. 
We could readily detect, however, that he was a warm admirer of 
Cleveland, and that he had always been suspicious of school 
teachers, when they became leading politicians, for having come 
in social contact with the most prominent ones in their homes 
and in the halls of legislation, and having watched them closely 
from King Louis Phillipe down to the present day, and invariably 
found them wily and unscrupulous demagogues. His tribute 
to woman was couched in the most flowing language, and her 
influence over the unwise ways of man captivated all present. 
He stated, just after the war, he had appropriated the first money 
to the building of this church. After strenuous efforts on the 
part of the citizens they have succeeded in erecting a very credit 
able house of worship, although still unfinished, which, however, 
he hopes to see completed by next fall, when, if not, he 
promised to render aid. His entire discourse was silver words of 
wisdom, the result of long experience, and was an intellectual 



336 REMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

treat to be long remembered with pleasure, and in the words of 
the New York u Tribune/ " As there never was but one Shakes 
peare, there will never be but one Dan Rice." From " The Com 
mercial/ Pine Bluff, Ark., April U, 1885. 

ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE FACULTY OF UNIVERSITY 
OF ANN ARBOR, JAN. 1, 1806. 

Among the desires planted in man by the Creator, the desire 
to please is one of the most natural as well as beneficial. All 
classes of humanity in every degree or station of life whatsoever, 
acknowledge its sway, and with the gentle but potent force of 
love, our tribute is exacted; and we bow ourselves as willing sub 
jects to its reign. Folly and wisdom are, in their natures, two 
extremes, and the distinction between the two at their greater 
points of diversity, reveal as great a difference to the under 
standing as light or the meridian of the sun and darkness 
at the hour of midnight to the sight. Yet as light and darkness 
so mingle between the dawn and the sunrise, and in the interval 
between the setting thereof and night, as to be in reality sus 
ceptible to neither the name of light nor dark, so, also, at the 
margins where wisdom and folly join, it is extremely difficult to 
assign the medley produced to either wisdom or folly, but placing 
them at their most distant points, the contrast is of a nature so 
observable that only those bereft of sight can fail to realize the 
distinction and note the difference. Like as to the two poles of 
a battery, wisdom is the positive and folly the negative. Wisdom 
is understanding; folly, the lack of it. Of all the follies of which 
humanity can be capable, the greatest is our attempt to do that 
which reason proclaims an impossibility. The knowledge of 
human nature requisite to the reason, deducting the fact concern 
ing the impossibility of pleasing every one, is so slight, that he 
who has not been observant enough to gather such knowledge, 
must indeed be blind to all the motives that impel human action, 
and having wandered so far from the realm of wisdom, must in 
deed have imbibed much of folly, if it has not totally become his 
element and habitation. The desire to please was planted in 
mai by his Deity for good use, the fruits whereof should be a 
blessing, and not to rob him of character by making of him a 
chameleon, which, having no color of its own, bears the hue of 
objects in juxtaposition. The individual who tries to please 
everyone is soon robbed of character and becomes an object of 
dislike to those whom he would please; a skeptic on all points con 
cerning the true nobility of man or the virtue of woman; loathes 
self, simply an animated existence without the least resemblance 
of a virtue prized by men. The Scriptures say it is impossible 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 337 

to servo both God and Mammon. To serve is to please to serve 
God is to please the just; to serve Mammon is to please the un 
just; to please all is to serve all, which, being an impossibility, is 
folly. A kite cannot rise with the wind but against it. In order 
that there be justice, injustice is necessary; the very fact of death 
proves the fallacy of life pleasure, sorrow, love, hatred, wisdom, 
folly. 

Nothing in the world is single, 
All things by a love divine 

In one another s being mingle; 
Thereby propagate their kind. 

If, therefore, in the beginning, it were possible for one to have 
pleased all, and each individual being possessed of that power, 
pleasure, being constant, would have produced upon human na 
ture a society which would as surely have formed a negative 
state as that produced by the pure rays of light in turning sweets 
sour. Plainly it must be seen that for the existence of pleasure 
it must have a negative state. As it is impossible for two atoms 
to occupy the same space in existence at the same time, so it is 
impossible for us to be good and evil, just and unjust, pleased 
and displeased, wise and foolish, at one and the same time. To 
please all one must have or possess this power, knowing that such 
a state of affairs is out of the range of all laws that govern exist 
ence. The mild term of folly is too limited an expression to 
depict such voluntary insanity. If, with the all-wise Architect 
of the universe there be an impossibility, the same is not ren 
dered possible within the creation of a being endowed with less 
wisdom that He possesses. Demonstrated, as it is, day by day, 
that His just, wise, and all-seeing dispensations do not please 
everyone, how can we, the creatures of his handiwork, hampered 
by tenements of clay, revel in such folly as an attempt? The 
pious man is one who endeavors to please his God; the conscien 
tious man to please conscience; the just man to please his credi 
tors; the wise man to please the majority; the man of folly to 
please all. 

His LECTURE ON CHEMISTRY BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF THE 
MEDICAL UNIVERSITY OF PHILADELPHIA. 

In the spring of 1 847 Doctors Goddard and Pancoast, Directors 
of the Medical College of Philadelphia, invited Dan Rice to at 
tend a meeting of the Faculty, when the subject of chemistry 
was discussed. 

It was jocularly suggested by Dr. Goddard that Mr. Rice should 
present his ideas on the subject; " for," said he, " Dan has di- 
22 



338 REMINISCENCES OF DAX IUCE 

reeled his mind to the study of everything of importance, and 
surely he cannot have neglected chemistry." The proposition 
was greeted with laughter and applause, and Dr. Pancoast pro 
posed that he be elected Chairman, which was unanimously 
adopted and Mr. Rice was forthwith escorted to the seat of honor. 

The following is a report from the " Philadelphia Ledger " of 
the date: 

Upon taking the chair, he delivered the following extempore 
address; for, of course, he had no conception that the meeting 
would resolve itself into so humorous an assembly, or that bur 
lesque was to take the place of a dry, scientific lecture. 

" Young gentlemen/ said he, " chemistry in its various rami 
fications is one of those sublime sciences which are adapted to 
the development and perfection of human greatness and to the 
mixing up of paints and dye stuffs. 

The chair, gentlemen, to which I am now called in this 
schoolhouse, is the chair of chemistry, as most of you are probably 
aware of, that is to say, when I say probably, 1 mean possibly. 
This chair, gentlemen, I will tell you privately, is the most dis 
tinguished in the whole professorship of the schoolhouse, and if 
anyone but myself were now addressing you it would not be im 
proper for him to state to you that it takes a smarter man to fill 
this chair than it does to fill any other chair in the whole faculty. 

" Situated as I am, however, and restrained as I am by the 
delicate position I occupy, it will not do for me to say a word 
about it. 

" Ambition to be great is one of our innate and most prominent 
passions. It is a passion that distinguishes humanity and per 
vades even the brute creation. It was this passion that led Xapo- 
leon to light the camp-fires of Moscow and induced General Hom- 
burger to forsake the repose of his hermitage for the clangor of 
political strife. 

" This insatiable craving after greatness led me, too, in early 
life, to forsake all else except the study of Shakespeare, and de 
veloping the intellect of that noble animal, the horse, and also 
to devote my giant energies to the study of chemistry. And if 
I am not the greatest chemist in the country, their toil has lost 
its reward and disappointed ambition is the only fruit of my un 
paralleled labors. 

" In speaking of the universality of human ambition for great 
ness, I omitted adverting to one man who forms a remarkable 
exception to the proposition. That man is Old Tidy. 

" He is as insensible to the fascination of earth s greatness as 
the dead are to whiskers. His ambition for greatness seems 
merely nominal, reaching no further than the end of his fishing 
line, or to the bowl of his pipe, where it is wholly gratified in the 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 330 

nibbling of a fish or in contemplating the ashes of his tobacco 
conflagration. 

" Such is Tidy s highest ambition. But let us now turn to a 
nobler picture. Gaze upon Potty/ nursed in the lap of ambi 
tion and fed, from his infancy, upon the hope that he would some 
day be the Jupiter Ammon, whose oracles should be the law to 
the literary and refined. Potty stands before the world as the 
very incarnation of human ambition. 

" Chemistry,, gentlemen,, in brief, embraces the nature and 
qualities of the mind, kites, soap bubbles, thunder, lightning,, 
bed-bugs, fleas, mosquitoes, parasites, adulterated teas, coffees, 
sugar and drinks, music and perfumery, besides many other in 
gredients which, if I am again called to preside over this learned 
assembly, I shall take occasion to notice more particularly." 

In the winter of -6 and 47 Mr. Dan Rice., the original Shakes 
pearean Clown and Jester, played in his great character the en 
tire winter in Welch & Mann s " National Circus," located on the 
corner of Ninth and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, where the 
Continental Hotel now stands, and numbered among his admirers 
the most eminent lawyers, judges, doctors, poets, authors, and 
members of the press; prominent among w T hom were Col. James 
Page, David Paul Brown, Lucas Hurst, and young Benjamin 
Brewster, who afterward became distinguished for his legal abil 
ity and as a wise counsellor, and, at the zenith of his fame as such, 
unsolicited he was called to fill the position of Attorney-General 
of the Winter States; Dr. Paul Goddard, Dr. Pancoast, Dr. Rush, 
and other eminent physicians; Thomas Dunn English, Walt 
Whitman, and Dr. Shelton McKenzie, author of the most authen 
tic history published of the celebrated Charles Dickens; Judge 
Sharswood, Judge James Thompson, Judge Jeremiah I. Black, 
and others, who were all lovers of the circus in those days. 

DAN RICE S LECTUKE. 
MONMOUTH COUNTY DEMOCRAT A WONDERFUL OLD MAN. 

Owing to a number of social gatherings on Friday evening, 
and possibly to insufficient local advertising, Dan Rice s lecture 
was quite slimly attended. Among the audience, however, were 
a number of citizens who had known the showman in his palmier 
days, and were glad to greet him again after an absence from 
our town of nearly a quarter of a century. His personal resem 
blance to his half-brother, the late William C. Manahan, at one 
time a resident and well-known throughout our county, was 
noticeable as well as certain peculiarities of speech and manner, 
especially his earnestness of expression and his positive and mas- 



340 REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 

terful way. There was this difference, however, to be observed 
in the two men Manahan was uncompromizing in his likes and 
dislikes, while Rice showed that he had learned to exercise a 
politic diplomacy in dealing with the public, and to conciliate 
where he could not convert. He made a good impression on the 
platform, and, for the most part, was easy and graceful in his 
style, but occasionally, in the recitation of quotations from dra 
matic authors, he lapsed into a " stagey " melodramatic style, ac 
quired, no doubt, in his mock delineations in the ring, very 
effective, possibly, with the appropriate surroundings, but some 
what incongruous in a literary performance on the lecture plat 
form. He opened with some interesting reminiscences of his 
boyhood days at Colt s Neck, with recollections of " Sam Laird " 
and other notables of that neighborhood a generation ago. He 
then dropped easily into reminiscences of his travels as a show 
man in Europe and America and in the Holy Land told how he 
had bathed in the River Jordan and played in the Garden of 
Gethsemane, and closed with a panegyric upon the Bible and its 
influences, remarkable as coming from one whose early life had 
been spent among associations so antagonistic to the teachings 
of that Book. His lecture was interspersed with amusing anec 
dotes, old songs, and quaint and wise expressions, with occa 
sional flashes of pure and quiet humor worthy of Dickens or 
Douglas Jerrold. His sallies of wit were frequently applauded, 
and he held his audience for an hour, who all appeared to be 
highly delighted w r ith his effort. We had a short interview with 
him the afternoon before his lecture and found him a highly 
entertaining conversationalist, overflowing with interesting anec 
dotes and recollections of distinguished personages and promi 
nent events in both hemispheres, and, above all, with a heart for 
humanity as big as his ample physique. He bears his years well, 
and has the springy step of a man of forty. He has led a 
strangely wild life from boyhood, and down to a recent period 
the rough influences which surrounded him largely governed his 
life and moulded his character, but he has lived to reform all 
that, and we are glad to know that his influences are now on the 
right side, and that by precept and example he is trying to re 
trieve the past, in which effort we can all wish him abundant 
success. 

RICH, RARE, RACY ELOQUENT AND PATHETIC. 

Last night the veteran clown, Dan Rice, appeared before a 
Madison audience, not as he is familiarly known to every man, 
woman, and child, as the clown of clowns, the clown of our 
daddies, but in the new role of lecturer. The audience that as- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 341 

sembled at Odd Fellows Hall last night was composed of repre 
sentative citizens, who could appreciate the words of wisdom in 
" The Idiosyncrasies of the Human Mind, or a Fool Wise at 
Last." Uncle Dan appeared on the rostrum unintroduced, need 
ing none, and immediately began his lecture with a few introduc 
tory remarks. He said that in appearing before a Madison audi 
ence he always felt inspired, and in all his wanderings he ever 
retained a warm spot in his heart for the citizens of this place, 
and his thoughts often reverted to the happy days spent in the 
city neath the hills. The Colonel, in a feeling manner, paid a 
worthy tribute to the memory of the late Colonel Garber, with 
whom he was exceedingly intimate, and related several character 
istic anecdotes of our lamented chief, in which he acknowledged 
gratefully the many press favors he had received at his hands. 
He referred to him as one of the most warm-hearted, honorable 
gentlemen he had ever met in his long list of acquaintances in 
all parts of the world, and spoke of him with gratitude for his 
kind and proffered assistance in the days of the " One-Horse 
Show," when a friend in need was a friend indeed. His many 
years of experience as a clown has given him that ease upon the 
stage that at once attracts an audience and undivided attention. 
The Colonel related in his own happy mood many amusing inci 
dents that convulsed the audience with laughter, and elicited 
hearty applause. 

The lecture is one founded upon years of experience, and none 
can say that the life of Dan Rice, checkered as it is with fortune 
and failure, does not afford ample grounds for such a lecture. 
The speaker, with wonderful ease, would lead the audience to 
laughter by his anecdotes, and to deep and sober thought by his 
nights of eloquence and pathos. 

The nature of the lecture admitted of a wide discussion of 
several of his favorite themes, among them the experience de 
rived from travel, the sawdust ring, and intemperance, and the 
knowledge from these various sources, imparted by a man who 
has actually been in contact with them, did not fail to impress 
all present with the wholesome advice. 

Dan Rice as a popular lecturer is eminently successful, and 
those who failed to hear him last night missed a rare treat. 
From the " Evening Courier," Madison, Ind., September 20, 
1884. 

DAN RICE AT THE OPERA HOUSE. 

There was an audience of representative people at the Opera 
House to hear Dan Rice on the " Idiosyncrasies of the Human 
Mind." There was a cold rain without, preventing the attend 
ance of many ladies, but there were warm hearts within to greet 



KEM1NISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

the Clown of our Daddies. He opened in characteristic form by 
an allusion to the postponed performance of Maud S. (Robert 
Bonner s wonderful racing mare), then entered upon reminis 
cences of Lexington, and alluded to the Wicklifis, Warfields, 
Blackburns, Bufords, Breckenridges, and last, but not least, the 
immortal Clay, whose mantle he considered had fallen on the 
present unopposed candidate for Congress. His allusion to Joe 
Blackburn was greeted with applause. He stated that in visit 
ing the cemetery he had noticed the tall shaft looming up, indi 
cating that even after death Henry Clay was far above his peers, 
as was the case in his noble life. First he said, " How reverenced 
is the face of the tall pile whose symmetrical pillars rear aloft 
its arched and ponderous roof, by its own weight made steadfast 
and immovable." Looking tranquilly, we regard this tribute one 
of the most poetical passages in the English language. Colonel 
Rice, in speaking of the eloquence of the immortal Henry Clay, 
said, " Whenever he spoke, heavens! how the listening throng 
dwelt on the swelling music of his tongue, and when the power 
of eloquence he d try, then lightning struck you. Ah, then soft 
breezes sighed." 

He stated that his maiden vote for President was cast for 
Henry Clay, who was defeated in two attempts of his friends to 
place him in the Presidential chair, which honor he could have 
realized by a sacrifice of principle, and many of his numerous 
friends urged him to sacrifice pride to the exigencies of the times, 
but his answer was emphatically, "No! I would rather be right 
than be President." (Loud applause.) 

He referred to his visits to the churches yesterday, in the 
morning to hear the son of an old friend, Dr. Nolan, and in the 
evening to listen to Dr. Hidens address on the subject of Bible- 
reading. From this he branched out into an expression of his 
opinion on the Holy Scriptures, the like of which has never been 
heard. He impressed upon his hearers such words of wisdom, de 
rived from his own experience, as cannot but be profitable to re 
flecting minds. Especially impressive was he on the subject of 
divorce. He stated emphatically that divorce brings a curse upon 
a man by marking him for the finger of scorn and suspicion 
through life. His tributes to the departed dead were of such 
character as to show that " Uncle Dan " is better posted in regard 
to them than many who were born and raised here. Speaking of 
the fame of Kentucky, and especially of Lexington, he said: " Her 
illustrious sons and representative statesmen are known all over 
the civilized world." He told a good story of a Kentucky lady 
betting at New Orleans on the great racehorse, " Lexington." 
After she had put up all her money and jewels on her favorite, 
she sprang up and said she was willing to bet her husband Lex- 




LAST PORTRAIT OF COLONEL KICK, AND HIS BIOGRAPHER 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 343 

ington would win; and win, he did. His tribute to woman was re 
markably fine, and all through the entertaining humor of the dis 
course of nearly two hours was a deep, rich vein of worldly wis 
dom and Christian philosophy, that only too many of our 
preachers fail to discover. Lexington, Ky., " Daily News/ Octo 
ber 29, 188-i. 

COL. DAN KICE. 

Xow that Waco is honored by the presence of this admirable 
gentleman, the " Examiner " suggests that some of our leading 
citizens call on him and ask the favor of a lecture. He is one 
of the most interesting talkers on the rostrum now in this country 
and he would fill any public hall in the city to overflowing. A 
lecture from Dan Rice on any subject would be full of sound 
morality and sound philosophy. The " Examiner " votes for a 
lecture. 

The same journal, a few days later, published the following: 
Colonel Rice, upon the urgent solicitation of many leading citi 
zens of Waco, will give one of his chaste and intensely interesting 
personal entertainments at Garland s Opera House on Thursday 
night, October 15th. Mr. Garland has generously tendered 
Colonel Rice the house for that night free. We can promise the 
citizens of Waco an intellectual treat. Colonel Rice is known 
wherever the English language is spoken as one of the leading 
humorists of this or any other age, and he is withal, a genial, 
scholarly gentleman, and with the warmest heart that ever beat 
in human bosom. The Colonel has given over a million dollars 
to charity during his wonderful career. Let the generous people 
of Waco turn out and give the distinguished gentleman a rousing 
reception. 

Col. Dan Rice, the clown of our daddies, gave a lecture at the 
Garland Opera House to-night which was well attended. " The 
Fool s Wisdom " was his theme, and he handled it very cleverly. 
Yesterday morning the Colonel went down to the three hundred 
students at chapel hour. He quotes Scripture as readily and 
fervently as any preacher, and sticks to the King James version. 
From " The Waco Examiner," Waco, Tex., October 17, 1885. 

The same paper quotes the following day: It was a pretty 
picture, last night, in the dress circle of the Garland Opera 
House, in looking down to the parquette, where an even hundred 
of the bright-faced, pretty girls of the Waco University sat. Dr. 
Burleson, the venerable president, occupied one of the prosce 
nium boxes, and dress circle and galleries were filled with an 



34:4 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

elegant and enthusiastic audience. All were there to listen to 
the " Fool s Wisdom, or the Idiosyncrasies of the Human Mind/ 
as expounded by Colonel Eice. The lecture was a potpourri of 
wit, humor, pathos, and common sense; a talk that was practical 
and beneficial, and if applied properly it ought to do his hearers 
good in more ways than one. Nobody got wearied, and at times 
the old gentleman was applauded to the echo. There is a move 
ment to induce him to give a semi-moral lecture at the same place 
on next Sunday evening. 

Colonel Rice gave a series of lectures, ninety-two in all, 
throughout the Southern States for the benefit of widows and 
orphans of the Confederate dead; contributions for the E. E. 
Lee Memorial at New Orleans, and last, but not least, Galveston 
has cause to be grateful to the old circus clown for a contribution 
of $1,000, sent by him to the Howard Association here, from 
Lansing, Mich., in 1867, when the population of this city was 
being decimated by the yellow fever scourge. From " The Day," 
Waco, Tex., October 15, 1885. 

DAN RICE S LECTURE. 

The lecture of Col. Dan Eice, the veteran showman, from the 
bandstand on the Beach Hotel lawn, yesterday afternoon, at 
tracted much attention, and the old showman completely cap 
tured his hearers and held them in sympathy with himself and 
subject throughout, for such a heterogeneous audience, such as 
generally assemble at the Beach on Sunday evenings. The lec 
ture being a sort of potpourri of wit, humor, sentiment, and wis 
dom, was admirably adapted, and few speakers could have held 
their attention as successfully as did Colonel Eice. He an 
nounced his subject as a " Fool s Wisdom, or, the Idiosyncrasies 
of the Human Mind." Just wherein the subject matter fitted 
the caption, it was difficult to discern, without the lecture which, 
taken in its entirety, was the outgrowth of the idiosyncrasies and 
peculiar originality of the speaker. It was, indeed, an effort orig 
inal in its conception, as the ordinary run of lectures go, and quite 
as original in its style of delivery. Though very hoarse, Uncle 
Dan made himself heard quite distinctly, his voice being pecu 
liarly suited for outdoor speaking. Within the range of his 
theme he embraced nearly everything, and would drop from the 
sublime to the ridiculous and fly from the sentimental and 
pathetic to the humorous with a grace and ease of method that 
were absolutely remarkable, showing a perfect mastery of his 
subject. He never seemed at a loss for words or language to ex 
press his ideas, and would string together with a single link anti- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 345 

thetical subject matter with a facility that was marvellous, pre 
serving a unity throughout as pleasing as a medley of popular 
airs. It was a lecture that none but Dan Rice could have deliv 
ered, and one that never could be produced in type, for, shorn 
of the peculiar mannerisms of the speaker and divested of the 
humor he imparted, it would be of little interest. Uncle Dan s 
early training in the sawdust rhig comes admirably to his aid 
upon the lecture stand, and his thorough command of facial 
expressions, art of acting, and mimicry, are the secrets of his suc 
cess in being so peculiarly entertaining. He was frequently in 
terrupted by applause and vociferously cheered at the close. 
From the "Daily News/ Galveston, Tex., August 24, 1885. 

ADDRESS IN THE RING. 

THE CLOWN AND THE PARSON A FANATICAL PREACHER 
A SERMON IN THE SAWDUST. 

As a clown, Dan Rice s reputation and success superseded all 
others who had preceded him, or who have since appeared in the 
motley garb. There is no doubt but that he would have been 
equally successful had he adopted the stage as a profession. As 
an elocutionist he had few rivals, and when he occasionally quoted 
Shakespeare there were many distinguished actors who might 
have profited in the hearing. But, after all, it is as a preacher of 
the Gospel that Dan thinks he would have made a still greater 
reputation, and if he had chosen the ministerial path to fame, 
at this time he and his admirers are of the opinion that three 
names would have been linked, Beecher, Talmage, and Rice. 
The time of the delivery of the following sermon was May, 1851. 
Dan Rice s one-horse show was advertised to exhibit at Weeds- 
port, in the State of New York. In the interim the Rev. Mr. 
Dunning, of the Methodist Church, denounced all such shows 
in a style which exhibited, in a marked degree, an intolerant 
spirit. He was particularly severe upon the one-horse show, 
and concluded with an excommunication threat to all who visited 
the show. This did not prevent the attendance of an immense 
crowd upon the arrival of the circus, and in the course of the 
entertainment Dan paid his respects to the preacher, and pic 
tured him in such a ridiculous light that the audience, many 
of them members of his church, were convulsed with laughter. 
As a climax, Dan announced that upon the following day (Sun 
day) he would let the canvas remain and preach a sermon in 
opposition to his uncharitable neighbor, so that all who attended 
might see with what facility a clown could transform himself 
into a minister of the Gospel. At the appointed hour, ten 



34:6 REMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

o clock, on the morning of the 4th of May, 1851, the interior of 
the canvas was crowded to witness the novel exhibition. The 
result was in the nature of a surprise, and the severest rebuke to 
Dan s assailant was that, in the discourse, he was utterly ignored. 
A special reporter from the " Syracuse Daily Standard " was in 
attendance, who took down and published the sermon, which, 
as delivered by Dan Eice, was extempore. 

SERMON BY DAN RICE. 

The following is the text: " The Lord of Hosts; I am the first 
and I am the last, and beside me there is no God." 

These words establish most conclusively the doctrine held by 
the Xew Jerusalem Church concerning the Lord, w r hich is taught 
in the following words: That Jehovah God, the creator and pre 
server of heaven and earth, is essential love and essential wisdom 
or essential good and essential truth; that He is one both in 
essence and in person, in whom, nevertheless, is a Divine Trinity, 
consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, like soul, body, and 
operation in man; and that the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is 
that God. 

Adopting, therefore, an orderly arrangement of the subject, 
let us consider: 

First: The proposition that the Lord in His essence is divine 
love and divine wisdom, or, what is the same thing, divine good 
and divine truth. Second: That He is one, both in essence and 
in person, in whom, nevertheless, is a divine trinity, consisting 
of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, like soul, body, and operation 
in man; and third: That the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is 
that God. It must be apparent to everyone that our considera 
tion of this divine subject must be greatly circumscribed, inas 
much as the time usually allowed to a discourse will necessarily 
confine us to a very general view of the doctrines here advanced, 
and not permit of that enlarged and extended survey of all its 
important particulars which the seriously contemplative mind is 
disposed to make. Indeed, to consider the subject in all its par 
ticulars and singulars were the work of eternity, for we may ex 
haust all the powers of human conception in the contemplation 
of a single attribute of the Great Jehovah, and, after all, we shall, 
as it Avere, be merely entering upon the threshold of its considera 
tion. The subject is infinite, and therefore can never be fully 
examined by finite comprehension. The first proposition is 
u that the Lord in His essence is divine love and divine wisdom, 
or, what is the same thing, divine good and divine truth," or, 
what is still the same, divine heat and divine light. 

Our Lord says: "I am the first." He is, therefore, uncreate 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN EICE 347 

and infinite, and because He is uncreate and infinite He is life 
itself, or life in Himself. Now love is the life of man. This is 
evident from this, that if you remove affection, which is of love, 
you can neither think nor act. It may also be made to appear 
from its correspondence with heat, without which we know that 
it is impossible to exist for a moment. Xow the Lord, because 
He is love in its very essence, that is, divine love, appears before 
the angels as a sun, and from that sun proceeds heat and light; 
the heat thence proceeding in its essence is love, and the light 
thence proceeding in its essence is wisdom. 

Because the Lord in the heavens is divine truth, and in divine 
truth there is light, therefore, the Lord in the word is called light, 
and likewise all truth which is from Him. Jesus said: " I am the 
light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in dark 
ness, but shall have the light of life. As long as I am in the 
world I am the light of the world." Jesus said: "Yet a little 
while the light is with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest 
darkness come upon you. AVhile ye have the light believe in the 
light, that ye may be the sons of light." " I am come a light 
into the world, that everyone that believeth in Me may not 
remain in darkness." " Light hath come into the world, but 
men have loved darkness rather than light." John says, concern 
ing the Lord: " This is the true light which enlighteneth every 
man." ; The people who sit in darkness shall see a great light, 
and to thou who sat in the shadow of death, light hath arisen." 
: " The nations that are saved shall walk in His light." " Send 
Thy light and Thy truth; they shall lead me." In these places 
and in very many others the Lord is called light. Since from the 
Lord as a sun, there is light in the heavens, therefore when He 
was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, " His face ap 
peared as the sun, and His garments as the light, glittering and 
white as snow." That the garments of the Lord appeared so was 
because they represented divine truth, which is from Him in the 
heavens. " Since the light of heaven is divine truth, therefore 
also that light is divine wisdom and intelligence; whence the 
same is understood by being elevated into the light of heaven, 
as by being elevated into intelligence and wisdom, and being en 
lightened. Because the light of heaven is divine wisdom, there 
fore all are known such as they are in the light of heaven." And 
the heat of heaven in its essence is love. It proceeds from the 
Lord as a sun, which is the divine love in the Lord and from the 
Lord. " There are two things which proceed from the Lord as a 
pun divine truth and divine good; divine truth stands in the 
heavens as light and divine good as heat, but they are so united as 
to be but one," just as the light and heat of the sun of this world 
are united and are one. 



348 REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 

" And from this that the divine essence itself is love and wis 
dom, it is that mail has two faculties of life, from one of which 
lie has understanding and from the other he has will. The 
faculty from which he has understanding derives its all from the 
influx of wisdom, from God, and the faculty from which he has 
will derives its all from the influx of love from God." " Hence 
it is manifest that the divine with a man resides in these two 
faculties, which are the faculty of being wise and the faculty of 
loving; that is, the faculty to do so/ 

" From this, that the divine essence itself is love and wisdom, 
it is that all things in the universe refer themselves to good and 
truth. For all that which proceeds from love is called good, and 
that which proceeds from wisdom is called truth." From this, 
that the divine essence itself is love and wisdom, it is that the 
universe and all things in it, as well the animate as the inanimate, 
subsist from heat and light; for heat corresponds to love and light 
corresponds to wisdom; wherefore also spiritual heat is love and 
spiritual light is wisdom." 

From the divine love and from the divine wisdom, which make 
the very essence which is God, proceed all affections and thoughts 
with man; the affections from divine love, and the thoughts from 
divine wisdom, and all and each of the things of man are nothing 
but affection and thought; then are these two, as it were, the foun 
tains of all things of his life; all the delights and pleasures of his 
life are from them; the delights from the affection of his love, and 
the pleasures from his thought thence. Now, because man was 
created to be a recipient, and is a recipient, so far as he loves God 
and from love to God, is wise; that is, so far as he is affected by 
those things which are from God, and so far as he thinks from 
that affection, it follows that the divine essence, which is creative, 
is divine love and divine wisdom. 

Yet, though we never can find out the Almighty unto perfec 
tion, we may, if we be so disposed, by putting away from us what 
ever is in opposition to the spirit and life of the Lord, and look 
ing to Him for light, be enabled to see the King in His Glory. 
For being created with capacities for the reception of love and 
wisdom, by which we may become images and likenesses of Him 
self, if we exercise them right, we may behold, admire, and love 
the character and attributes of Him who is the King of Israel 
and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts. And we may be assured, 
if we put away our evils and look to Him in the way he has 
pointed out to us in His word, He will manifest himself unto us 
as He does not unto the world. 

Let us then approach the consideration of this subject with 
becoming reverence. Let us put away from us every thought, 
every affection, every tendency of the mind which would in the 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 3-t9 

smallest degree obstruct the light of divine truth, or hinder or 
oppose the divine influx in its descent into our minds, and, in 
voking His divine aid, presence, and blessing upon our medita 
tions of Him, let us proceed to notice what the Lord has revealed 
to us concerning Himself in His holy word. 

At the conclusion of the sermon, Mr. Rice, with a ministerial 
expression on his countenance, announced the following hymn to 
be sung by the Circus Troupe accompanied \)j the band, and it 
was rendered with thrilling effect. So much so, that the Rev. 
Dr. Graves of the Presbyterian church, moved by an irresistible 
impulse, pronounced a benediction, probably the first that was 
ever called down upon a concourse of people assembled under a 
circus tent. At the close hundreds of people passed before Mr. 
Rice to shake his hand and congratulate him, and many expressed 
the opinion that he had mistaken his calling. 

God is love; his mercy brightens 

All the path in which we rove; 
Bliss he wakes and woe he lightens, 

God is wisdom, God is love. 

Chance and change are busy ever; 

Man decays, and ages move; 
But his mercy waneth never; 

God is wisdom, God is love. 

E en the hour that darkest seemeth, 
Will his changeless goodness prove; 

From the gloom his brightness streameth, 
God is wisdom, God is love. 

He with earthly cares entwineth 

Hope and comfort from above; 
Everywhere his glory shineth; 

God is wisdom, God is love. 

THE NEW DEPARTURE. 
PART OF A DISCOURSE OF DAN RICE IN NEW ORLEANS. 

Slavery has been swept away forever, whether as an act of polit 
ical expediency or military necessity, it is useless now to inquire. 
In the bare fact the statist and lawgiver will find much to inter 
fere with and reverse their old-time calculations. The causes 
which interfered with the public school system in our country 
parishes and made it there " a miserable failure," exist no longer. 
Between the once rich planter and the poor farmer or mechanic, 
there is now no difference on the score of wealth; all classes have 
been reduced, as it were, to the same common level, and the in- 



350 REMIXISCEXCES OF DAX RICE 

telligent planter,, who was once too proud to send his children to 
a free public school will be the first now to recognize its benefits. 
Though a portion of his old pride may yet remain, it is not of so 
unreasonable a character as to be fostered in preference to intel 
ligence,, and as soon as the prejudices against a free public school 
system are once overcome, it will be found quite as applicable 
to the country parishes as to our own metropolitan district. 

Not only are the circumstances of our old residents changed, 
but we will soon have great additions to our white population, 
and with every such addition the public school system will be 
come more and more suited to our wants. The newcomers, it 
may be fairly assumed, will regard the free school as a public 
blessing. It has been predicted by a Northern lecturer that " in 
ten years Xew England will lose more than a third of her popula 
tion. The young and vigorous, who have learned for themselves 
the great advantages which we possess in soil and climate, will 
leave their old sterile homes and flock to us as wild pigeons and 
swallows do on the approach of winter. In ten years we shall 
hear no more of the sparse population of our country parishes. 
Such changes will be wrought as were never before accomplished 
in a single decade. The prediction of President Madison, when 
standing on the banks of the lower Mississippi, will yet be veri 
fied. " Not far distant from this spot," said he, " will stand the 
future capital of our great Republic/ Then with the wrapt 
gaze of a seer and philosopher, looking into the future, he added: 
" This valley will yet be unrivalled in agriculture, unrivalled in 
arts, unrivalled in arms, the great deep its only emblem, which, 
glorying in its majesty, dignity, and strength, laughs at the 
opposition of tyrants." 

The recommendation in reference to colored schools is a very 
proper one. Though the negro has been freed God has set a 
mark upon him which has always been regarded as well by blacks 
as whites as an unmistakable sign of inferiority. Only when 
puffed up by demagogues and fanatical humanitarians does the 
negro pretend to be the white man s equal, and though our people 
entertain no deep-seated prejudices on the subject, yet the two 
races can never stand on the same social level, either practically 
or theoretically, and different schools will have to be provided for 
their children and their children s children for all time to come. 



USIXG THE EYES. 
CLIPPING FROM A LECTURE OX THE ABOVE. 

How many of us go through life without ever realizing that our 
eyes have to be educated to see as well as our tongues to speak. 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 351 

and that only the broadest outlines of the complex and ever- 
changing- images focused on the retina ordinarily impress them 
selves upon the brain? That the education of the eye may be 
brought to a high state of perfection is shown in numerous ways. 

There are many delicate processes of manufacture which de 
pend for their practical success upon the nice visual perception 
of the skilled artisan, who almost unconsciously detects variations 
of temperature., color, density, etc., of his materials which are 
inappreciable to the ordinary eye. 

The hunter, the mariner, the artist, the scientist, each needs 
to educate the eye to quick action in his special field of research 
before he can hope to become expert in it. The following story 
from the " Penn Monthly," which is quite apropos, is related of 
Agassiz, and it is sufficiently characteristic of this remarkably 
accurate observer to have the merit of probability. We are told 
that once upon a time the professor had occasion to select an 
assistant from one of his classes. There were a number of candi 
dates for the post of honor, and finding himself in a quandary 
as to which one he should choose, the happy thought occurred to 
him of subjecting three of the more promising students in turn to 
the simple test of describing the view from his laboratory win 
dow, which overlooked the side yard of the college. One said 
he merely saw a board fence and a brick pavement; another added 
a stream of soapy water; a third detected the color of the paint on 
the fence, noted a green mould or fungus on the bricks, and evi 
dences of " bluing " in the water, besides other details. It is 
needless to tell to which candidate was awarded the coveted posi 
tion. 

Houdin, the celebrated prestidigitator, attributed his success in 
his profession mainly to his quickness of perception, which, he 
tells us in his entertaining autobiography, he acquired by educa 
ting his eye to detect a large number of objects at a single glance. 
His simple plan was to select a shop window full of a miscellane 
ous assortment of articles, and walk rapidly past it a number of 
times every day, writing down each object which impressed itself 
on his mind. In this way he was able, after a time, to detect in 
stantaneously all the articles in the window, even though they 
might be numbered by scores. 

POLITICAL SPEECHES AND PATRIOTIC ADDRESSES. 
COLONEL RICE S PROFESSION MADE HIM A COSMOPOLITE. 

While playing an engagement in Stone & McCollom s Circus 
at Charleston, S. C.. in the winter of 1849 and 1850, a compli 
mentary dinner was tendered the famous jester by fifty young 



352 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

gentlemen, the cream of South Carolina s chivalrous sons, many 
of whom were upon a holiday vacation from the colleges of the 
Xorth. During the evening there was an extraordinary display 
of collegiate erudition,, and each gentleman became an expounder 
of the classics, including quotations in the original language from 
Greek and Eoman writers. The humble clown sat a silent but 
attentive listener, until he was finally called upon, either to make 
a speech or sing a song in response to a complimentary toast. 
The result was a recitation, which both astonished and amused 
his entertainers. The following from the Charleston " Literary 
Gazette" was the burthen of his speech: 

Of all the characters of ancient or modern times my favorite 
was Scaramouch; now you may divine that this is an imitation 
of " Kabelico " and Southey s " Doctor." We will call it Ponti- 
prus. 

Meanwhile Scaramouch took himself off and applied to all 
sorts of Divination for the purpose of discovering where the lost 
bottle was tying. He tried Aeromancy, or divination by the air; 
Alectryemancy, or divination by a fowl-cock; Aleuromancy, or 
divination by flour; Alomancy, or divination by salt; Anemos- 
cosy, or inspection of the winds; Anthracomany, or divination by 
charcoal; Arithmonancy, or divination by numbers; Astromancy, 
or divination by the stars; He divined according to Bactromancy, 
or by a rod; Bostrychomany, or by the hair; Botanomancy, or by 
the plants; Brizomancy, or by the nodding sleep; Capnomancy, 
or by smoke; Catoptromancy, or by mirrors; Cephaleonomancy, 
or by the head of an ass turned around; Chartomancy, or by the 
cards; Cleidomancy, or by the keys; Cleromancy, by lot and dice; 
Cymomancy, by beans. He tried the divination of Dactylio- 
mancy, by rings; of Daphnomancy, by burning laurel leaves; of 
Extispiciny, by inspecting the entrails of victims; Geloscopy, by 
laughter; of Geomancy, by the earth; of Geoty, by sorcery; of 
Gynecomancy, by women; of Hasmomancy, by blood; of Horos- 
copy, by calculation nativities; of Hydromancy, by water; of 
Icthomancy, by fish; of Kerannoscop}^, by thunder; of Lampado- 
mancy, by lamps; of Libanomancy, by incense smoke; of Litho- 
mancy, by stones. He divined by Metaposcopy, the lines in the 
forehead; by Myomancy, rats; by Necromanc}^ evocation of the 
dead; by Nephelemancy, the clouds; by Oinomancy, wine; by 
Oneirocracy, dreams; by Oomancy, eggs; by Ophiomancy, ser 
pent; by Opthalmascopy, eyes; by Ornithascopy, birds; by Parthe- 
nomancy, virgins; by Paedomancy, children; by Pelomancy, mud; 
by Pinacomancy, tablets; by Syehomacy, evocation of souls; by 
Ptarmoscopy, sneezing; by Pyromancy, fire. He divined, more 
over, by Rhapsodomancy, verses of poets; by Skiamancy, shad 
ows; by Spodomancy, cinders; by Sticomancy, verses of Sybils; 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 353 

by Stoicomancy, the elements; by Sycomancy, figs; by Tevatos- 
copy, prodigies; by Tetrapodomancy, quadrupeds; by Theolepsy, 
ecstacy; by Theurgy, celestial spirits; by Tyromancy, cheese; by 
Tranoscopy, the heavens; by Xylomancy, wood; by Ylomancy, 
forests; by Zoomancy, living things; and thus, having gone 
through the alphabet of Divination without discovering where 
the smelling-bottle was, he cut three thousand three hundred and 
thirty-three and a third capers, turned ninety-nine thousand 
nine hundred and ninety-nine summersets, pulled his left ear 
several times, until it was elongated to the extent of several hun 
dred cubits, tweaked his nose until it was as sharp as a needle 
forty hundred leagues long, and giving a great cry of hullaballi- 
boowhoohooyoosee, he went to sleep. 

Being suddenly awakened by an astonishing dream, he cried 
in Hebrew r , Anochi, hannabi asher itto halom I am the prophet 
with whom is a dream! 

He added in Arabic, Ma ya lamu taweelahu Xo one knows its 
interpretation! 

He added, moreover, in Syriac, Shma u mishwa, v lo theshcha- 
lun vas hru michzo v lo thed un Even if you hear it you will not 
understand it, and even if you see it you will not know it! 

He cried in Chaldee, Helma} a basimin yattir min dubvsha 
Dreams sweeter than honey. 

And he added in Persian, Djan asa ahet amiz, summa zudaz, 
dil Kusha Kngia teshrif awurdid Giving rest to the soul 
bringing quiet, driving away misfortune. 

He cried in Armenian, Usd amenian desleanus aisorig, vet- 
zitoxs anooshamdooteamp sharjim According to all this vision, 
six times over am I moved with gayety! 

At intervals, during the delivery, peals of laughter and ap 
plause greeted the speaker, and at its conclusion, one of the party, 
in a fit of enthusiasm, arose to his feet, gesticulating as he ex 
claimed: 

" Gentlemen, notwithstanding that our famous guest is from 
the Xorth, still, by G , he is somewhat of a gentleman." 

DAN RICE S BENEFIT TO MEMPHIS. 

On yesterday afternoon was given the exhibition for the bene 
fit of the Memphis sufferers at Dan Rice s Paris pavilion circus. 
The performance in its entirety was excellent, and this alone 
should have secured the exhibition better patronage than it had. 
The cold weather, however, prevented the large attendance which 
had been anticipated. At the close of the performance, Vene P. 
Armstrong unexpectedly appeared, and thus addressed Colonel 
Rice, who was standing in the ring: 
23 



354: REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

Colonel Dan Eice Sir: I feel it an honor and no less pleas 
ure, sir, to appear for the first time in the " ring " before so 
happy an audience and so honorable a gentleman as yourself. 
On behalf of the sufferers of Memphis and our committee., allow 
me, sir, to tender you the heartfelt thanks and gratitude of a 
suffering people for your noble generosity upon this occasion; 
and let me assure my old friend that many a pair of trembling 
lips will send their message heavenward in these words: " God 
bless Dan Rice." It is not strange that, while you are feeding 
the hungry, clothing the naked, shielding the widow, and pro 
tecting the orphan, you are, by words of wit, making others more 
fortunate that they laugh at misfortune and hard times. Such 
is life. Some laugh while others cry; some smile, others weep; 
some live, others die. And your large heart, so full of the " milk 
of human kindness," is never closed to any appeal when human 
ity says, " Dan, give." Sir, while you are a veteran in the circus 
ring, and cannot be called one of " last year s chickens," still you 
have always looked upon the cheerful side of the picture of life. 
You are yet young enough to live to see your charities appre 
ciated by a magnanimous people. Again allow me to thank you 
and your company for this excellent entertainment, the proceeds 
of which will be forwarded to Memphis to alleviate the sufferings 
of an afflicted people who have been less fortunate than our 
selves. May you " live long and prosper " is the heartfelt wish 
of all who are present here to-day. I believe I speak the senti 
ments of our entire city of Memphis and the whole Union when 
I say, " May God bless* and may long live Dan Eice, the philan 
thropist, the wit, and the gentleman." Mr. Eice seemed deeply 
affected by Mr. Armstrong s earnest speech, and wiped his great, 
honest face with his handkerchief several times. For a moment 
his feelings were " too deep for utterance," but the great chari 
table old heart would be heard, and standing as erect as a Co 
lossus, he said: 

Ladies and Gentlemen: My heart is really too full to express 
in appropriate language what I would like to say to you. I know 
the very unpropitious weather must have detained many from 
attending this benefit under the frail protection of a circus tent, 
who, if the weather had been better, would have been here. But, 
anyway, those who have come here, whose hearts warm towards 
those who are in deep distress, care not for the weather. My 
friends, this is characteristic of Louisville and Kentucky. The 
people are pioneers in charity and good-fellowship, ever ready to 
respond from whatever source the demand or cry for help comes. 
Tt does not become me, my friends, to speak of what T have 
done: whatever I have done it has been my duty to do. Those 
people in Memphis are a warm-hearted and generous people, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 355 

too. They have never failed yet to respond to the calls of 
charity. When communities far away from them were visited 
by dire affliction they reached out the hand of fellowship and 
deep sympathy, as you all have done to-day. 1 must say, my 
friends, that 1 feel proud of Mr. Armstrong and the committee 
lie represents, because they have labored so hard in behalf of 
suffering humanity, showing me that they entered into this mat 
ter with that humane and deep s}anpathy which characterizes a 
Christian people. They went into it in full force, attending to 
the affairs of the benefit in order that things might be conducted 
properly for the benefit of the Memphis sufferers. You remem 
ber, my friends, what the good Lord has said to those who re 
member the sick and the poor, " Blessed is he that remembereth 
the poor," and may that blessing come upon you all, is Dan Eice s 
earnest wish. 

Colonel Eice withdrew amidst the thunderous cheers of his 
auditors, as he is, and always has been, a great favorite of Louis 
ville people. From the " Louisville Courier-Journal," Novem 
ber 2d. 

AN OFFICIAL COMPLIMENT TO DAN EICE. 
The following correspondence speaks for itself: 

MAYOR S OFFICE, Memphis, November 8, 1860. 
CAPT. DAN EICE. 

Dear Sir: The Board of Mayor and Aldermen, meeting No 
vember 7, 1860, as a compliment to you for your repeated acts of 
liberality in giving benefits to benevolent institutions, through 
your exhibitions in the city of Memphis, and for your gentle 
manly deportment and manly carriage, have requested me to 
present you with their compliments and tender }^ou the privilege 
of exhibiting " Dan Eice s Great Show " for one week free of 
any charge on the part of the city of Memphis. 

Very respectfully, 

E. D. BAUGH, Mayor. 

MEMPHIS, November 9, 1560. 
To the Honorable Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the city of 

Memphis. 

Gentlemen: The peculiar nature of the compliment which you 
have so generously conveyed to me in the communication of his 
Honor the Mayor, dated the 8th inst., so overwhelms me with 
gratitude that I find myself embarrassed to express in adequate 
words my sense of the honor you have conferred upon me. It is 
only one of the many favors and kindnesses which I have received 



356 REMINISCENCES OF DAN BICE 

at the hands of the good people of Memphis a community, 
which to the last day of my life., will be cherished in my memory 
with the most heartfelt emotions of respect, gratitude, and 
esteem. 

Most obediently, your obliged and grateful servant, 

DAN EICE. 

DAN RICE AND THE SONS OF MALTA. 

In pursuance to an arrangement previously agreed upon by 
the officers of the S. Grand Council of the State of Louisiana, 
and the members of the various lodges now in working order, the 
august and honorable S. G. C. met on Saturday, the 26th inst., 
for the purpose of tendering to Brother Dan Rice a compli 
mentary benefit, under the auspices of the I. 0. S. M. 

Upon the meeting being called to order, it was moved and 
seconded that one-half of the dress circle of the Academy of 
Music be secured for the express convenience of the Sons. 

It was further resolved that the G. C. will appear with appro 
priate badges and the members of the subordinate lodges appear 
decorated with the cross of the order. 

It is further resolved that the Sons will proceed to the Acad 
emy in a body. 

A committee was formed to officially wait on Dan Rice, and in 
the name of the S. G. C. of the I. 0. S. M. to extend to him their 
proposition. 

COBEESPONDENCE. 

NEW OELEANS, January 26, 1861. 
DAN RICE, ESQ. 

Sir: The undersigned have been appointed a committee on 
behalf of the S. G. Council, I. 0. S. M. of the State of Louisiana, 
to tender you a complimentary benefit on such evening as you 
may designate. 

Respectfully }^ours, 

D. I. Ricardo, Aid to S. G. C. of U. S.; L. A. Clarke, S.G.C. of La.; 
J. L. Jacobs, V. C. G. of La.; F. A. Richardson, S. G. S.; 
John Burgess, G. P. of La.; J. H. Jones, G. M. of La.; E. D. 
Willett, P. V. G.; E. F. Proctor, P. G. C. 

Steamer "James Raymond," January 26, 1861. 
Brethren: Permit me, as a Son of Malta and an ardent lover 
of the teachings and practical examples of charity as taught by 
your august Honorable Order, to express my heartfelt gratitude 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 357 

for the pains you have taken to render me the recipient of a pub 
lic honor that 1 shall ever remember with pride. 

Not to accept cheerfully would be hypocritical on my part, for 
as a man, my heart burns with enthusiasm when I feel that my 
professional course has enabled me to command the respect and 
regard of such a noble body as you have the honor to represent. 
In accepting, allow nic to name Friday, the first of February, as 
the most convenient time for receiving you. 

Fraternally yours, 

DAN EICE. 

To D. I. Eicardo, L. A. Clarke, and others. 

NEW YORK, April 7, 1859. 
DAN RICE, ESQ. 

Dear Sir: In recognition of the varied and peculiar talents 
which you have displayed in your profession, and of the sterling 
qualities of mind and heart which we acknowledge you to possess 
as a man, we desire to testify in some fitting way our appreciation 
of the efforts you have made, through a long series of years, to 
amuse and instruct the public. 

Such a testimonial would seem to be appropriately timed upon 
the eve of your departure on your farewell tour through the 
United States. Aside from motives of personal friendship, we 
would thus unite in an endorsement of the elevated style of 
humor in the arena which you have originated, and which, while 
it has had a tendency to reform, rather seeked to please by its 
innate merit than by the buffoonery of the clown. We wish also 
to give an expression of our admiration of the liberality of 
Nixon & Co., in bringing you again before a metropolitan audi 
ence. 

We propose, therefore, to offer you a complimentary benefit at 
Niblo s Garden at such time as may seem to the manager and 
yourself the most appropriate. We are, dear sir, with regard 
and interest, 

Your friends, 

Fairchild, Walker & Co., Edwin Forrest, Simeon, Leland & Co., 
J. G. Parmalee, Avery Smith, George Sherman, Judge Rus 
sell, I. V. Fowler, D. E. Delevan, Dr. Valentine Mott, Hon, 
G. G. Bernard, Dr. Quackenboss, Horace Greeley, William 
Cullen Bryant, George Jones, George William Curtis. James 
Gordon Bennett, Sr., Hugh Hastings, Sarony & Co., George 
Law, John Owens. 

NEW YORK, April 8, 1859. 

Messrs. VALENTINE MOTT. EDWIN FORREST, GEORGE LAW, etc. 
Gentlemen: It needed but your kind offer to fill to overflowing 



358 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

the measure of gratitude for the liberal and continued patronage 
which has been bestowed upon me since my advent in the city. 
More than all do I esteem your recognition of my efforts to ele 
vate my profession to a position beside kindred arts. To this 
end I have labored long and faithfully, a labor amply repaid since 
acknowledged by those who have been my friends and patrons. 
I love the pursuits which fate or my own predilections have led 
me into, and I may dare to claim, without the charge of egotism, 
that no act of mine, either public or private, has ever given occa 
sion to my fellow-artists to blush for their brother. But I must 
not trumpet my own praise, although I confess your welcome 
and unexpected letter has given me a very great opinion of 
myself. I am induced to think that I am somebody. But, seri 
ously, gentlemen, I feel indebted beyond all power of expression, 
for the kind tender made me, and although not desiring to dis 
claim all credit, yet I feel your generous partiality has given me 
more credit that I perhaps deserve. I will not, however, affect a 
modesty that might in its turn affect my pocket; therefore, with 
renewed thanks, I beg to announce my acceptance of the testi 
monial. Messrs. Nixon & Co. wish me to convey to you their 
sense of your flattering mention of their administration of the 
series of amusements, and state that, with my consent, they have 
named the evening of April llth as the most convenient for the 
occasion, it being also the last night of the equestrian season at 
Niblo s Garden. 

I am, gentlemen, with gratitude, 

Your obedient servant, 

DAN EICE. 

The following is an extract from the New Orleans " Picayune " 
of December, 1853, in relation to a public testimonial of the 
Eev. Father F. M. La France to Dan Rice for his liberal dona 
tion towards the building of St. Ann s Church: "Yes, my 
friends, the money benefit we are now receiving in Dan Rice s 
contribution of one thousand dollars, has equally pleased and sur 
prised me. In my boyhood I have often visited the circus, and 
the last one I attended was Dan Rice s, at which time I had often 
read of his large charities to convents, churches, charity hospitals, 
and Howard Associations, as also to the rebuilding of Dr. Clapp s 
church which was destroyed by fire, 1850. For this latter his 
subscription was larger than that of any other citizen except Judy 
Yuro. Little did I dream of ever receiving aid to our church 
without intimation or solicitation. But upon reflection it is not 
so surprising for Dan to so act, considering that during his 
season in New Orleans he has donated large sums to our orphan 
asylums, the poor of the municipalities, the Irish Immigrant 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 359 

Society, to the widows and orphans of the fire department,, as 
well as a large donation towards the monument of General Jack 
son. Recorder Jonti, Seuzenan, Mayor Grossman, Tom Poole, 
Biers, and Don Ricardo inform me that Dan Rice s public dona 
tions in Xew Orleans since 184? amount to over ninety thousand 
dollars, therefore let us praise and thank Xew Orleans bene 
factor, or, as we might more properly say, Louisiana s benefactor, 
for all over the State we have read of his benevolent acts, and let 
us hope that his good deeds will be productive to him of happy 
fruits in the future, as have been yielded in the past, and let us 
wish him that happiness which has been promised to those who 
contribute to God s glory." At the conclusion of the address 
of the Reverend Father, there was a simultaneous burst of ap 
plause. 

HOMEWARD BOUND. 

Dan is homeward bound and is announced to give his last ex 
hibition for the season in Xew Orleans on Saturday next, the 28th 
inst. His " Great Show " will, of course, attract a " multitude 
of witnesses." He is an original in his profession, and is every 
where popular. Our fellow-citizen seems to have succeeded in 
astonishing some of the members of the press. A correspondent, 
writing to the " Philadelphia Enquirer," says: 

I attended a public meeting of the Union men in Mason City, 
Va., a few days since, and among those who spoke was a gentle 
man by the name of Rice, who the venerable president introduced 
as a citizen from Erie County, Pa., in the Keystone State. Of 
course, as a Pennsylvanian, I felt an interest in the man, so, 
therefore, I gave his remarks more than ordinary attention. He 
was eloquent, powerful, and easy in his address and manner, and 
won the admiration of all who surrounded his rostrum. His 
practical knowledge of the habits of men in different localities, 
and the system he pursued in pointing out the possibility of the 
success of secession, was no less significant for its originality than 
its truthfulness. He told what the manufacturing Xorth could 
do, and how essential the activity, genius, and skill of her people 
were to the welfare of the great agricultural territory of the 
" Sunny South." He did not abuse or ridicule any people for 
their peculiarities, or scoff at the manners or conventionalities 
of those who live in certain localities. He showed himself a 
Union man, who had made the history of his country a study, 
whose object was to preserve it whole and undivided, and cause 
it to go " conquering and to conquer." 

But whom do you suppose this fine orator to have been? Xo 
less a personage than Dan Rice, the American humorist, whom 



360 KEMINISCENCES OF DAX KICE 

I had seen and heard frequently in the arena on Quakeropolis. 
I heard Dan was smart, but 1 had no idea that his talent ran in 
the political channel. He is dignified 011 the platform, but, like 
in his professional circle, evidently seems to command. 

I am told that he has for some time been hard at work speaking 
for the Union, leaving the " institution " to run itself. He is 
not an enthusiast; neither does he appear like a man who was 
laboring for the gratification of personal ambition or pecuniary 
advantage. To speak plainly, he talks like a well-informed, 
educated gentleman, who knows what he is talking about, and 
who works for the love of the cause he has enlisted in. I do not 
know whether he has a desire for office, and 1 presume he has 
not, but it occurred to me that a man like him, who has travelled 
so far, has observed so much, and was as familiar with the wants, 
habits, and manners of the people of all localities, could not 
speak in vain among the lawgivers and sage councils of the na 
tion. Perhaps the next place I may encounter this rising young 
man (Rice) may be in the State Senate or in the Halls of Con 
gress. More unlikely things have happened, and men of far less 
ability and character have been honored in that way. 



DAN RICE S GREAT SHOW. 

Last night over 3,500 people attended the " National," to 
evince to Dan Rice the high regard the public entertain for him 
as a man and a manager. The recipient of the ovation appeared 
in good condition, and was remarkably communicative and 
peculiarly happy. And he should have been, for we think that 
Dan Rice, both privately and publicly, occupies a position which 
any man might be proud of. Some of the horsemen of Phila 
delphia, " Excelsior s " friends, determined to show him how he 
stood in their estimation, so they got friend Kelch, of Fifth and 
Prune Streets, to get up a cover at the moderate sum of one 
hundred dollars. Kelch did it and also contributed his share to 
the purchase, and Mr. James Kelly, one of the candidates for 
Sheriff, threw it into the circle. Mr. Rice made a speech, and a 
good one, too, and " Excelsior," rigged out in his new attire, 
appeared as though he was aware that considerable importance 
was attached to his presence. Melville, the Australian, made his 
debut, and took the people by surprise. He is a wonder and per 
forms feats that no other rider can accomplish. He is a Centaur, 
and his skill in daring, breakneck, dashaway riding baffles de 
scription. We are glad to know that the "Great Show" will 
remain until Saturday, and that Melville will ride every night. 
"Evening Argus," Philadelphia, April 1, 1858. 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 361 



DAN BICE AS AN ORATOR. 

Our citizens who have heard Mr. Rice on various occasions 
and subjects, know that his statements are quite within truth. 

Not the least among the many oratorical effusions with which 
the people of our land were regaled on the late memorable anni 
versary of our National Independence, was the address delivered 
at Rochester to a congregation of three or four thousand people 
by the celebrated Dan Rice. We had supposed that this gentle 
man, after having gained an honorable i ame in the business to 
which he has devoted his whole life, would rest satisfied with the 
results of his labor, and leave other departments of excellence 
and honor to other candidates for the public esteem. Not so, 
however. Mr. Rice seems determined to excel in more things than 
the training of stubborn mules and obstinate men, and judging 
from his efforts at Rochester, is destined to wear the proud laurels 
of an orator. Since the commencement of this war we have lis 
tened to many able and clear expositions of its real causes and 
its real nature but none more clear than that of the great wit 
and jester on that occasion. It was the frank, honest outburst 
of a true, honest heart, and as such it was received by the assem 
bled thousands with applause perfectly rapturous. Unpremedi 
tated, and spoken with scarcely a previous thought as to how it 
should be delivered, it was, nevertheless, a masterly effort, and 
one which would have done eminent honor to the proudest ora 
tor in our land. His expositions of the subject were most lucid 
and powerful, and his exhortation to duty and earnest appeals 
to the loyalty and patriotism of his hearers, beautiful and touch 
ing. It was the impetuous and fiery, yet sensitive effort of a 
born orator, and since its delivery we have not heard the name 
of Dan Rice mentioned without increasing respect. It is im 
possible to estimate the good which a man with Dan Rice s op 
portunities and abilities has accomplished in the cause of our 
country, and may he live long to be honored therefor. From 
Rochester correspondent of the " N. Y. Leader." 

DAN RICE. 

" Nothing extenuate nor aught set down in malice." We 
take pleasure in laying before our readers the following extracts, 
showing in their legitimate light the past and present position 
of Dan Rice, Esq., our worthy fellow-citizen, on the great ques 
tion of the Union and the war, which absorb so much of the at 
tention of the people at present. Certain New York and Phila 
delphia papers, which are remarkable for their spotlessness and 
purity, but which signally failed in their endeavors to levy 



362 KEMINISCEXCES OF DAN RICE 

blackmail upon the Great Show, are, and have been, very busy in 
circulating the report that Rice is a Secessionist, thereby seeking 
to do him a professional injury, and prejudicing the minds of per 
sons who do not know the facts of the case, not only against him 
personally, but against the exhibition that bears his name. 

This is manifestly a wrong. We know that Dan Rice has, first 
and last, as the following extracts will show, been a loyal citizen, 
and in the face of opposition which at one time came near costing 
him his life, has stowd up nobly in defence of the Union and the 
Stars and Stripes. 

You will pardon me, my dear and well-tried friends, for you 
were mine in the hour of adversity, if I should, as an American 
citizen, allude to the present state of political affairs. I am a 
public servant, and know no North, no South, no East, no West, 
and one who draws his support from the people of the constella 
tion of States this great Union, whose youth is but excelled 
by the fame its own glorious career has given birth to. Why 
should I not, in common with you, shed a patriotic tear for her 
anticipated downfall. My mission is to make you happy, for, as 
Dan Rice, the humorist (or clown as I am familiarly styled), I 
have caused smiles to usurp the place of tears, and have made 
genial radiance give place to darkened brows. Cosmopolitan by 
force of circumstances, I have, as they say in the vernacular, 
" travelled some." 

Wlieii Boreas reigned supreme above the line of Mason and 
Dixon, I found the icicle melt beneath the warm grasp of friend 
ship, which here your warm welcome has opened as genially as 
the orange blossoms of this tropical State. 

Nor can you pardon this burst of enthusiasm, yes, patriotism. 
I have been on the field where Jackson won the never-to-be-for 
gotten battle of New Orleans, and silently and alone I have raised 
my hat reverently before him who was " first in peace, first in 
war, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," and who will 
ever be gratefully remembered as George Washington. In Phila 
delphia I have pondered in Independence Hall, and sat myself 
down within those sacred w r alls where the first Congress ever 
assembled. A tall shaft at Boston once told me that I stood on 
Bunker Hill, and a simple granite slab had written upon it, 
" Here fell Warren." Amidst the " last, sad honors " and the 
grateful hosannas of the people who encircled the statue of that 
noble man,, the finger of history pointed to the birthplace of 
Franklin. Beyond it, far off in one of the most chivalric of the 
Confederacy, the Palmetto State, South Carolina, I saw the Stars 
and Stripes waving over Fort Moultrie, planted there when shot 
down by the enemy by Sergeant Jasper. They float there yet, 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN HICE 363 

and I hope, in the dispensations of a Divine Providence, they 
will until time is no more. The South has been aggrieved and 
she knows it, and the whole civilized world knows it; but none 
more seriously than those who have attempted to deprive her of 
her rights, those fanatical people who have violated those holy 
privileges of the ballot box by passing laws contrary to the Con 
stitution. The folly of their ways they have already discovered, 
and that powerful comedy, good, sound, common sense, is al 
ready beginning to operate in those States, the citizens of which, 
it appears, did forget the eleventh commandment, " Mind your 
own business." My fellow-citizens, do not let us, as men, per 
mit the monster of fanaticism to disturb our equanimity as a 
nation; our forefathers with strong arms and some with their 
lives, bequeathed to us this sacred trust. Let us, in maintain 
ing our rights, be true to that inheritance, which, though now 
ours, must in time be that of our children. From the " Xew 
Orleans Xewsboy," December 11, 1860. 

A SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE METROPOLITAN HOTEL, NEW 
YORK, APRIL 1, 1859. 

Gentlemen: 1 cannot plead the popular excuse in extenuation 
of any irrelevant remarks which I may make, for I am " used 
to public speaking," though I confess that there is less terror to 
me in the presence of thousands than in the society of the select 
few who have honored me with their company to-day. And for 
this very palpable reason, the public come to see the " humorist " 
and to laugh at his folly, while you look to the man, and expect 
him to appear as other than Filius Momi. Yet, as I am, here I 
am; and if I appear ridiculous, you will attribute my shortcom 
ings to long associations. It is undeniable that our pursuits color 
dispositions; for instance, the man who follows the almighty 
dollar with a zest that knows no abatement, finally assumes the 
hue of metal and becomes yaller, or else bilious, both physically 
and pecuniarily. But I must not be my own trumpeter at the 
expense of your patience. It is my last week in Xew York, and 
I could not leave without bearing with me some remembrance 
of my friends here. 

I generally find acquaintances may carry me, but those I leave 
are never superseded by the new. Whatever is behind me must 
be tender, for I am so constituted; I expect alwa} r s to push ahead, 
but no circumstances can ever crowd such pleasant scenes as 
these from my pleasure-freighted memory. We may build new 
reservoirs, but they are not to displace the old, we may contract 
new friendships, but not at the sacrifice of others. The past is a 
bank that will ever honor Memory s drafts drawn, no matter how 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN 1UCE 

long after date. Amid all the press of every-day life, not except 
ing the castigations of the daily press,, one member of which has 
arrayed the terrors of its tribunal against me,, I shall find occa 
sion to look upon this day as one especially dedicated to friend 
ship. You will bear with me if I allude for a moment to the 
unprecedented success that has marked our exhibitions in this 
city. I do not do this in order to take to myself any great degree 
of credit, but I cannot forget the applause with which I have 
been favored, an applause which must be shared with that won 
derful horse, Excelsior, and the ass-tute mules. I recollect, some 
years ago, giving an exhibition in one of the interior towns of 
Pennsylvania. Among the inhabitants was one who was opposed, 
not upon principle, but interest, to all such shows. I heard of 
this and enclosed a card of admission with the request of his com 
pany. He returned my note, without the ticket, declining to 
attend. I felt sure, however, that he would be there. I had 
him watched. Shortly after the commencement of the perform 
ances the gentleman entered. He sneaked in and kept in the 
background. The mules played particularly well, and almost 
convulsed the people with laughter. Our solemn friend enjoyed 
it until the tears ran down his cheeks copiously. My detective 
walked up to him and, laying his hand gently on the broad shoul 
ders of the visitor, said, " You are in tears, my friend/ " Yes," 
replied Broadbrim, taking out his handkerchief and wiping his 
eyes, " I am sorrowful. It grieves me to see so much talent per 
verted." Whether he meant in my person or in the mules, I 
never knew, but he has ever borne the name since of " Perverted 
Talent." I must stop, for I perceive that you are laughing at 
me, and I cannot bear ridicule. Allow me to propose a senti 
ment: May you never have the nightmare from indigestion, and 
should a diet be recommended, may you ever hold in remem 
brance the peculiar properties of Kice. 

WASHINGTON S BIRTHDAY IN 1859. 
A PATRIOTIC GATHERING. 

A select and talented company met at the Metropolitan in New 
York City, upon the 22d, to do honor to the " Father of his 
Country," and, at the same time, unite in their expressions 
of regard for the public s favorite, Dan Eice, the humorist. 
There was no unnecessary display at this reunion, no noisy osten 
tation that, with a prelude of puffing, would mark such a meet 
ing, and parade the fact that such a thing was about to occur. 
There was an appropriate modesty about the whole affair, at 
once characteristic of those who were the hosts, and, of the un- 



REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 365 

pretending career of the recipient. In response to the principal 
sentiment Mr. Kice rose to reply. As nearly as we can give his 
remarks from memory, they are appended, although we must 
confess our inability to blend, as he did, the pathos, patriotism, 
and humor which were delivered in turn. After a few appropri 
ate remarks, complimentary to those who had thus honored him, 
he went on to say: 

" There is an every-day patriotism which men can boast be 
ing possessed of, and which they ostentatiously parade when 
ever an allusion made to our dear native land will permit a 
noisy and prescriptive enthusiasm that is more like galvanized 
metal than true gold. I do not like the mouthy of the barroom. 
There is a deeper feeling inwrought into every nature of the man, 
and one that, while it can never be quenched, yet never burns 
in fitful flames. It is the very life of his inner soul, and the heart 
must cease to beat ere one spark of that quality ceases to illu 
minate his character. Such, I claim, is the reverence I bear to 
my country and her immortal son. 

" It is with trembling lips that I pronounce the name of Wash 
ington. I entertain no mock humility, as I bow before the un- 
di mined glory of that great man s memory, and I thank God that 
he gave to our race one who in living, ennobled, and in dying 
immortalized it. The first name, next to those of my heavenly 
and earthly fathers, my lips were taught to pronounce, was his, 
and the lessons taught me then, amid all the changes and chances 
of a busy career, have never been forgotten, and never can be. 
I would not be irreverent, yet I feel as did the sailor who, branded 
for disobedience, was asked if he would not always remember 
the act. Yes, he replied. you have impressed it indelibly upon 
me. A kinder system led me to remember the great one, but 
it is indelibly impressed upon my heart as though branded there. 

" Xot only in the manhood and continued virtue of the later 
years of Washington may we find food for instruction and deeds 
to emulate. His youth was no less marked by truth and honor. 
The many anecdotes that have come down to us, all precious 
heirlooms, upon the stage of history, fully attest this. He has 
served, f hen, as a model for the young and a glorious example 
for those of riper years, but other lips than mine have this day 
pronounced eulogies upon him and I must not be presumptuous 
enough to attempt it. I am reminded in this connection of an 
incident that once came under my notice. 

" T was sojourning in one of the small towns of Canada, near 
the American line, and was seated upon the stoop of its principal 
hotel, when there passed by its door an aged and travel-stained 
wayfarer. He had a small package strapped to his back, while a 
stout staff supported his almost tottering limbs. I addressed 



366 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

him; he paused, and in trembling accents said: Vouley vous 
donniz moiun vere d eau? 1 supplied him from the cool spring 
at the door. He wiped the perspiration from his high, broad 
brow, and bowing, was about to pass on. " You arc a native of 
La BelJe France/ I said; whither are you journeying? Oui, 
Monsieur, 1 am a native of France/ he answered in broken Eng 
lish; mais j al leav her forever a pilgrim to ze shrine of liberty 
to ze land of Washington! It is sufficient for me to say that 
the exile went no farther on foot. I saw him afterwards bow in 
reverence before the tomb enclosing the ashes of him who was 
first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his country 
men/ And that shrine is to be preserved! All praise to those 
noble daughters of America, whose best efforts are given to the 
purchase of that hallowed spot. All honor to the great and good 
men who have joined them in the work of love. Mount Vernon 
shall become the mascot of the coming generations, the grand 
incentive for us to emulate and hold before the unfolding minds 
whose innate patriotism is still concealed in embryo. When 
these unfoldings shall have blossomed into the perfect flower of 
maturity, let us hope that upon the expanded leaves there will be 
found the three magnetic names that compose our Nation s 
Trinity our God, our Country, and our beloved Washington." 
(Vociferous applause.) 

DAN RICE S FOURTH OF JULY SPEECH. 

We are able to lay before our readers but an imperfect report 
of Dan Rice s speech under his mammoth pavilion on the 4th inst. 
to an immense audience of the sturdy yeomanry of Rock County 
and our own fellow-citizens, which not only illustrates the sen 
timents of the great American humorist on topics of a national 
character, but also gives evidence of his power and ability to sway 
the public, which he never fails to entertain, please, and in 
struct, be it in the motley garb of a jester, or laying aside his 
professional robes and assuming the character of a fellow-citizen, 
he always makes his mark and leaves a good impression behind 
him. After expressing his thanks and courtesies to the public 
for their liberal patronage, etc., he proceeds to remark as follows: 
" We feel highly flattered, Mr. Rosston (addressing the ring 
master), to see such a goodly number of ladies and gentlemen 
present. And then everything is so quiet and orderly, the city 
fathers, trustees, aldermen, and common council, in fact, the 
entire city of Janesville, presents such a beautiful picture of 
harmony and industry that we cannot fail to notice it. To me, 
ladies and gentlemen," again addressing the people, " the Fourth 
day of July is one that always comes freighted with interest and 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX RICE 367 

especially at this period in our country s history is it rendered 
doubly interesting by the trials, conflicts, and gigantic elforts 
now being put forth to squelch the last vestige of that rebellion 
which has already cost the sacrifice of the best blood that runs 
in freedom s veins, threatens to drive us to the same alternative 
that forced the Declaration of Independence, and made the 
American people a unit, and the great questions involving the 
future life, welfare, and perpetuations of these United States. 
We have lived too long under the benign eyes of those institu 
tions dedicated to the sons of Freedom by our forefathers, and 
through whose fostering care we have been elevated to the rank 
of a first-rate power in the e} r es of the world, not to revere and 
perpetuate the memory of those noble patriots who had the man 
hood to declare themselves free and independent people, and to 
celebrate in an appropriate manner that glorious natal day which 
tolled the death knell of tyranny in this once despotic land, and 
witnessed the birth of Freedom and independence. From a 
small and humble band of Pilgrim Fathers who sought in this 
native wild an asylum for the oppressed and freedom to worship 
God/ we have grown up to be a great and independent nation, 
and though we are now passing through the ordeal of secession 
and rebellion, to put down which requires the united efforts of 
all Union-loving men, we, nevertheless, have great confidence 
in the power and ability of the Government and should go to 
ever}- length to sustain and defend it. Taking this view of the 
subject and in view of a possible disaster to our army before 
Richmond, which, according to the morning s dispatches, has 
been obliged to withdraw with heavy loss of blood and arms, there 
should be but one sentiment in regard to the duties of the people, 
to sustain Honest Abe Lincoln, lose sight of all partisan predilec 
tions, and go it strong for the Union." 

Mr. Rice continued his speech much longer and said very many 
good and telling things, blending his occasional nights of oratory 
with wit and humor, which told effectually upon his audience 
and elicited frequent and repeated rounds of applause. From 
the " Daily Gazette," City of Janesville, July 8, 1862. 

DAN RICE S GREAT SHOW His SPEECH. 

The third performance of Dan Rice in this city on Tuesday 
night was a perfect ovation and of a highly nattering character 
to Dan and his inimitable company. The canvas was densely 
crowded, and the entire performance being novel and magnifi 
cent gave entire satisfaction. The great feature of the evening 
was Dan Rice s Union speech, a synopsis of which we will at 
tempt to give. 



368 REMINISCENCES OF DAX ftlCE 

Mr. Eice said he was able to speak of the country from actual 
observation, and no man who had not done so was able to form 
any conception of the magnitude and strength of the foe that 
levelled death and destruction at the fairest and best government 
on earth. He was no politician he was for the Union. He had 
carried the Stars and Stripes aloft in the South during the hottest 
of the secession mania. 

He had been ordered to haul it down, was shot at, but the old 
flag was never dishonored in his hands. He kept it floating and 
he hoped and knew that it would yet be unfurled on the very 
places from which it had been hauled down in disgrace. The 
noble Union men of the South were battling bravely for their 
rights; they needed Northern assistance, and so long as the North 
remained true to the Constitution and the laws the old flag would 
find supporters South. The secessionists advocated that the Re 
publican party of the North were abolitionists and composed of 
men who did not respect the Constitution or the laws men 
whose sole object was the total extinction of slavery whether or 
no. He had heard the noble and patriotic Johnson and Ethe- 
ridge appeal to their countrymen for the Constitution. They 
pledged that the North was not abolition; that the Administration 
was not abolition and that this war was conducted without refer 
ence to extreme opinions, but solely with a view to the enforce 
ment of the terms of the Constitution and the laws. Let the 
North subscribe to the fanatical doctrine of abolitionists and the 
war would then assume a sectional attitude. Aid need not be 
expected from Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, or 
Western Virginia, and in that case it would require every man 
to subdue the rebels. This was no time for politics. The only 
aim of the masses should be the selection of good Union men for 
office, all party ties should be severed, we should be united as 
brothers in the holy cause in defence of the Constitution and the 
laws. Elect your strict partisans, place your rabid abolitionists 
in power, assert by your votes that the war is not constitutional, 
but sectional, and you will then drive millions from your sup 
port and sympathy. These are the times to try men s souls and 
men s patriotism. Discard, for the sake of your bleeding coun 
try, all prejudices. Rally to the support of the Constitution 
without reference to the sentiments of extreme abolitionists, and 
all will be well. If this course is pursued, you may expect a 
speedy termination of the war the serpent of secession will re 
ceive a death-blow, and the old flag will soon be triumphant. I 
am glad to know you have a Union ticket in this county it is 
composed of good men both Republicans and Democrats, who 
have accepted the constitutional basis. Those of the Democracy 
on that ticket acknowledge their error and now go in for the war 



REMINISCENCES OF DAX EICE 369 

and the support of Old Abe Lincoln. Lincoln has done right 
he is an honest man, and in his constitutional conduct of affairs 
deals heavy blows both upon abolitionism and secession. This is 
as it should be. It is just; it is, in my opinion, the only strict 
constitutional administration that has existed for the past twenty 
years. Stick to the Constitution at all hazards, and by doing 
so, you aid in maintaining this beautiful structure of Ameri 
can Liberty. You have a candidate for Senator in this county 
who has enunciated most inhuman and barbarous doctrines. I 
mean Mr. Lovvry. He has entered the field and advocates strict 
abolition doctrine a doctrine which is in opposition to that of 
Mr. Lincoln. Endorse his doctrine and you but add fuel to the 
flames. When Mr. Lowry left Wheeling and left his hat in his 
hurry, I presume that he was aware that the men of Western 
A irginia were not in favor of his odious doctrine, yet he would, 
by his advocacy, without venturing personal aid, render the 
breach between the North and South yet wider, that millions, of 
lives may be lost in battling upon strict sectional issues. God 
forbid that my fellow-citizens of this county shall endorse a 
doctrine so odious and unconstitutional as Mr. Lowry is the rep 
resentative of. Let the masses disregard the wants of political 
tricksters and assert their power at the polls in defence of the 
Union, the Constitution, and the Laws. This is my platform 
and it should be yours. It is the platform of freemen, men who 
love their country above all else, and of men who are willing to 
sacrifice upon the altar of their country all political dissensions. 
Support the Administration, support it through Union candidates 
without party platforms, then you will have done your duty and 
exhibit your love for the Union and the glorious Stars and Stripes. 
Mr. Rice was vociferously cheered throughout the speech and 
we are free to confess that the sentiments so expressed touched 
the right chord in the hearts of the people. From " The Dis 
patch," Erie, Pa., October 5, 1861. 

DAN RICE IN LOUISVILLE HE MAKES A SPEECH. UPON THE 
CRISIS OF THE TIMES. 

It was whispered during last week that Dan Rice would express 
his views on the absorbing issues of the present day some time 
during the performance of Saturday night. The whisperings 
so fraught with mystery had the effect of drawing a large, intelli 
gent, and appreciative audience to the mammoth pavilion, all 
anxious to hear what the great wit and humorist and showman 
had to sa} r upon the occasion. About an hour after the opening 
of the exhibition Dan was announced and appeared in the ring, 
greeted by cheers and a clapping of hands. During the progress 
24 



370 REMINISCENCES OF DAN IUCE 

of an equestrian act, he spoke of his world-wide travels,, and when 
in foreign lands how his thoughts turned toward his native 
shores, and his heart thrilled at the sight of the national emblem 
of his government. He alluded to the stories that were circu 
lated by the Northern press at the commencement of the rebel 
lion,, that he, travelling through the South at the time, had 
adopted the views of secession and become a traitor to the Stars 
and Stripes. It was not necessary for him to pronounce the story 
false, as his words and acts had long since proved it to be a base 
fabrication and a lie. He claimed that he had been unfaltering 
in the support of the Union, having raised his voice against se 
cession and given as much money as any man in the United 
States to aid and advance the interests of the Union cause. He 
referred to his early friendship with John G. Breckenridge, and 
how, when last they met at Paducah, he had tried to prevail upon 
him to abandon all thoughts of rebellion against the National 
Government. He paid an eloquent tribute to the memory of 
that noble Kentucky patriot, the lamented Crittendon. He re 
membered him as the venerable gray-haired man, the brightest 
genius of the age, the noblest of Kentucky sons, the proudest of 
heroes, the best of patriots, and the ablest of fearless statesmen. 
The close of this graceful tribute was wildly applauded by the 
thousands gathered beneath the canopy of the pavilion, and Dan 
then spoke of the present impending crisis, and how sadly Ken 
tucky had been changed by the ravages of the war. 

He alluded to the disorganized state of society, the arrests of 
citizens, and the power exercised by the military. He claimed 
that it was not the object of Federal bayonets to throttle free 
speech, but to beat back the invader, afford protection to the 
citizen and preserve the laws inviolate. He argued that the citi 
zens should, by firm, decided action, assert their manhood and 
preserve the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution of 
the United States. He said that the Government should be sup 
ported, that nothing should be done to embarrass the movements 
of our armies in crushing out the rebellion and restoring peace 
to the distracted country. He asserted that if the people desired 
a change of rulers they should unite, without regard to party 
principle, concentrate their vote on some good man, and by the 
sublime power of the election franchise, raise him to the proud 
position of Chief Magistrate of the land. He cautioned prudence, 
firmness, and unity of action. Strict attention was paid to his 
remarks throughout, and he was frequently applauded. As Dan 
retired from the ring the opinion gained currency that he was 
almost as good a statesman as he is a showman. We congratulate 
him upon his new-earned laurels. u Louisville Journal," Mon 
day, August 21, 1864. 



KEMINISCEXCES OE DAN ItlCE 371 

DAN RICE IN WESTERN VIRGINIA His UNION SPEECH TO 
THE VOLUNTEERS AND CITIZENS OF MASON COUNTY. 

Our friend, Dan Rice, whose feelings towards the Union he has. 
never attempted to conceal, having freely confessed them even 
when Secessionists were in the majority, has been in Western 
Virginia, giving full scope to his patriotism and eloquence. On 
Thursday last, Election Day, he happened on a visit to several of 
his old friends in Mason City. The soldiers and citizens of the 
place, becoming aware of the fact, called all hands to muster, 
waited on Dan, and, through a committee, requested him to ad 
dress them on the political aspect of the present crisis. He, 
though somewhat reluctant, acquiesced, mounted the rostrum 
rudely and hurriedly prepared amid the rolling of the drum, the 
shrieking of the fife, the waving of the National Emblem, the 
cheers of the men, and the smiles of the ladies, and then pro 
ceeded to grant their request, a synopsis of which is the follow 
ing: 
Fellow-citizens and Volunteers of Mason City: 

Although I am not an aspirant either for political fame or 
aggrandizement, I feel as though I would make too great a sacri 
fice of personal pride and honor not to avail myself of the kind 
invitation you have extended to me. 

During the past few weeks my ears have been shocked by the 
cries of secession., uttered by those whom I had always loved 
with heartfelt tenderness men who were my friends in the dark 
days of tribulation men who but a year or two ago would have 
struck to earth as a dastard he who would have dared to sow in 
this happy land the seed of discord. I believe that in the seced 
ing States already the throes of the fetus of monarchy, the com 
ing shadow of discord, the approaching footsteps of the dragon 
dissolution, have completely paralyzed them. Surely Satan has 
been loosed for a season, and his fiery breath is drying up the 
wells of loyalty. Would there were more men in the forum and 
tripod down South like Parson Brownlow and Andrew Johnson, 
of Tennessee, who dare write their thoughts and are not afraid 
to speak them. But exclusive power and coercion rule, and well- 
meaning men have bowed their necks to receive the yoke of op 
pression, and unlike you, have lacked the moral courage to step 
forth and in a proud tone exclaim to the leaders of the rebellion, 
" Thus far shalt thou go and no farther." Yes, my fellow-citi 
zens, whether to the manor born, or children of the United States 
by adoption, you have nobly done your work to-day and indelibly 
stamped upon the historical pages of this country acts that will 
not cause your posterity to blush when future time shall point 
them to the record. This evening as the sun hies him to his 



372 REMINISCENCES OF DAN RICE 

golden couch, and your cannon proclaims the Union men s tri 
umph, the hills and valleys of your sister State, Ohio, will rever 
berate with joy, and before old Sol shall have risen, the lightning 
conductor, that fleet courier, the telegraph, will make the whole 
country aware that the fires of liberty have not resolved them 
selves into ashes, nor have the favored altars set up by our patri 
otic sires of 76 been overturned. (Cheers.) 

As I have before intimated to you, my province is not in the 
political avenue my sphere is more limited; but in common with 
all sober, thinking men, I entertain my ideas of the evils that 
surround us and the causes that gave them birth. Look at that 
proud standard waving there with her thirty-four stars, the major 
portion of which the thirteen adopted after their children had 
purchased them with their blood. The tree of despotism was 
hewed down in Virginia at Yorktown; let me conjure you, my 
friends, that you tread down the first germ of it you see springing 
up in your midst. (Cries of " We will.") 

If that flag inspires you to much here, what must be the sensa 
tions on seeing it in foreign lands? I have experienced this. 
When quite a boy, myself and three companions, two of whom 
were Southern boys, the other a Pennsylvanian like your humble 
servant, spied the banner of Columbia waving from the mast of 
an American ship, moored near the docks of London. We 
simultaneously raised our hats and exclaimed, " God save the 
Union," and now I hope, and humbly bow before the tribunal 
of the All-seeing eye, praying and trusting that our prayer of .our 
boyhood was heard, and will be granted. (Cries of " It will be. 
In God is our trust.") 

It sometimes seems strange what inspiration there is in that 
piece of bunting. Why, my friends^ in one of the river towns 
on the Ohio, a party of volunteers were about leaving to vindicate 
the honor and integrity of their country. The town was full of 
enthusiasm, and the " gem of the ocean " waved from windows 
and housetops, save one humble cottage. It was the home of a 
poor but brave man, who at the first call of his country shoul 
dered his musket and marched to battlefield, leaving his wife and 
children to struggle with adversity until he should return to 
convince them that their liberties were protected and they were 
still safe under a free administration. As a rule, women are 
equal to any emergency. She seized the undergarments of her 
little one, tacked three of them together, then flaunted as good a 
" red, white, and blue " flag as anybody. This spasmodic act 
awakened the liveliest enthusiasm; the people applauded her 
and the volunteers passed by with uncovered heads. Where is 
the man who would not raise his hat to petticoats when thus 
exhibited? Yesterday, at Gallipolis, a lovely little girl came to 



KEMINISCENCES OF DAN KICE 3T3 

me and handed me a beautiful bouquet, the flowers arranged in 
the form and colors of a flag. Said the child, " Here are flowers 
gathered from my papa s garden; my papa is a Union man, and I 
hear you are too; your little girls are not here to weave them 
for you, so I have done it for them." My heart was touched, the 
better feelings of my nature were aroused and I gloried in the 
thought i hat patriotism is not dead in the land where parents 
thus teach their children. 

I wish to assure you, men in arms, that you are not to meet 
ordinary men in the coming conflict. The Southern soldiers are 
not cowards, although their leaders are demagogues and specu 
lators. But your cause is a holy one; theirs a speculative one. 
They wish to give power to designing usurpers; you to defend a 
triumph gained by the pioneers of liberty. You wish the banner 
of independence to stand where our forefathers planted it; they 
wish to flaunt a foreign rag in its stead. Never let this be done, 
and although the field of carnage may be more deeply reddened 
by your blood, remember the escutcheon of your country must 
never be stained by the rapacious hand of speculation. Fellow- 
citizens, I must close. I will have to talk again to-night. In 
truth I have labored hard the last six months to save our glorious 
Union. In conclusion I thank you for your kind attention and 
pleased with all save the name of your city. However, I presume 
it derives its name from some other than the one from which a 
Senator is connected. So mote it be. I am suspicious of all 
Masons except they are free and accepted ones, who work, I 
guess, " on the square." 

Fourth of July oratory is above mediocrity. The striking 
difference between Dan and some other " Hail Columbia Ora 
tors " consists in the important fact that he is far wiser than he 
seems, and they are greater fools than they take themselves to be. 
Friends and Fellow-citizens: 

I address you by a new title at this time. Hitherto we have 
always met in the relation of auditors and actors, and custom as 
well as courtesy demanded that my style of address to you should 
be "Ladies and Gentlemen," but now the partial kindness of a 
few friends whose hearts would make me all I ought to be, has 
placed me in the position of active participator in the festivities 
which ever attend the anniversary of our independence, and 
standing now in the proud majesty of an American citizen, 
mingling mj voice with the voice of American citizens, on the 
day which made us free people, it is my privilege to address those 
before me as my " Friends and fellow-citizens." We are here to 
celebrate the deeds of those whose patriotism and wisdom this 
day seventy-five years ago consummated the glorious plan which 



374: REMINISCENCES OF DAN HICE 

has secured to us the blessings of a freedom. Freedom now, 
indeed, 1 do feel my own littleness when I attempt to give utter 
ance to the stupendous gush of burning thoughts that cluster 
round the word. Freedom political, intellectual, and religious 
freedom. Freedom the talismanic sound which disperses the 
mists of ignorance, the clouds of superstition, and the storms 
of despotism, and enables man to stand forth in the full majesty 
of his nature, and maintain the high position which his God, 
when He created him in His own likeness intended him to occupy. 
Cold and senseless indeed must be that heart which does not thrill 
with a livelier pulsation at the mere mention of the name of 
Freedom. But, my fellow-citizens, if this word gathers round 
the heart such emotions when generally used, what, oh! what 
sentiments should animate an American freeman! Cast your 
eyes over this vast continent replete in all things which can minis 
ter to man s happiness or dignity, presenting a picture of intel 
lectual grandeur for the admiring contemplation of the Old 
World, and terror to those whose security of position rests in the 
ignorance of mankind, and who now tremble at the storm which 
man s awakened wrath will cause to descend on their devoted 
heads. Know that all this came from the holy fire of freedom 
which burned upon the altars of your father s hearts, and tell me, 
if you can, what are your emotions. 

Fellow-citizens, I dare not trust myself upon this theme. I 
know not how to play upon human feelings as with a toy, and 
when I touch this ch